Rectus what? That was my comment to a specialist a number of months ago. Actually quite a number of months ago. I had taken my little one to see this specialist because I had noticed that one of her eyes would turn outward a bit when she was really tired or just staring off at something in the distance.
When my little one was born, I did notice that her right eye was a bit turned . . . not straight . . . I mentioned it to the peditrician and she quickly dismissed me. I mentioned it to my husband and he thought I was crazy. I mentioned it to friends and my MIL and they all dismissed me telling me she was perfect. So, I forgot abot it for awhile and didn't take notice of it.
Every once in awhile over the next couple of year, I would notice a brief turning out, but it was so far and few between, I didn't really think too much about it. However, right around her 4th birthday, I really started to nitcie her eye turning out more and more. I knew there was something wrong and I told my husband to look at times to see if he noticed it. He did and I made an appointment with a specialist right away.
She confirmed what I had really known for years. My little one did indeed have issues with her eye. But what I didn't know was that she had issues with both eyes. She had Exotropia. Her eyes deviated outward. Her right eye, the one that I noticed, had a 35% deviation! Her left was slightly less than that. I felt so bad for my little one and what kind of mother was I!
The good news was that this was completely curable! And further good news was that her vision was perfect! But, we needed to progress with treatment or her eyes could deteriorate and the disorder could progress . . . she could start to use her right eye less and less and her brain would stop recognizing anything the right eye would see. All that I could do was sit and nod and be very brave for my little one when all I wanted to do was hold her tightly and keep her safe from what I knew was coming. Surgery.
The first step in "the cure" was to try a patch over her left eye to force the right eye to work or to see. She needed to retrain her eye to do some work. We were to put on a patch for 2-3 hours per day for an two months and then come back to see her in three months. The specialist warned me that this would not likely change anything and that surgery was pretty much imminent. But I went home with our patches and we had some fun with them over the next couple of months.
The funny thing about these patches is . . . they do not stick! We were in the heat of the summer and as soon as we went outside, my little one would sweat them right off. The amazing thing about these little patches was as soon as I put one on her eye, she was sure to fall asleep. We began to call them Napping Patches. It was hilarious! But she did indeed wear these patches for two months and we went back to the specialist after three months.
The doctor did notice an improvement in her eye and stated that her 3-D vision had returned. When she had first tested her three months prior, my little one had failed this portion of the test. She recommended surgery as the final option and I agreed with her. I wanted her eyes corrected. We scheduled the surgery, Bilateral Lateral Rectus Recession . . . and waited for two months.
During this time of waiting we did not use the patch any longer and simply just watched her eye. My little one knew she was going to have her eyes "fixed" by the nice doctor at the hospital as she had such a great attitude about the entire situation. My husband, on the other hand, did not.
Literally, a week before the surgery, he and I got into a huge argument about this surgery. He felt that I was jumping ahead into something that was not needed and I was only having her eyes corrected for vanities sake. I was furious! He was furious! I told him to call the specialist with all his queries but our little girl was still having this surgery.She was disgnosed with strep throat during this week and he hoped the doctor was going to cancel the surgery. (it was not the case)
Yes, I was extremely worried about my daughter going under anesthesia . . . yes I was extremely worried about the entire procedure . . . yes, I was beside myself with anxiety for my little one. But I trusted our doctor. I believed what she told me. I wanted my daughter to have straight eyes. I did not want her brain to stop recognizing her right eye. I didn't want her vision to be impaired due to Exotropia. And yes, I did want her eyes to be straight so she would not be a victim of harassment someday. She is pretty and I wanted her eyes to be pretty too!
This is what I saw when I walked into her recovery room, although she still had her mouth piece in which the nurse removed when I asked her if she still needed it. My little one woke up in about 10 minutes and was so frightened . . . it was so sad and I felt horrible for her. She couldn't open her eyes and kept telling me so . . . she wanted to rub her eyes and was very angry with me because I wouldn't let her. I was sitting in a chair holding her and attempting to calm her. It simply was not working so the anesthetist was called in and she was given more drugs to make her sleep it off. She slept for another hour, I woke her and she was much happier the next time around.
Her eyes were very swollen and she was really groggy, but still my adorable little one! We were able to leave the hospital at this time and she wanted to walk. It was quite hilarious because she didn't have her legs back yet. She wanted to walk through the rotating doors and couldn't get her little legs to move one bit. She had quite a bit of pain throughout the rest of the day and through the next day. Her eyes were really red where the incisions were. But she was a champ! So very brave throughout the entire process! I am so proud of her!
Two hours after the surgery and ravenous . . . she literally ate more food in this day that I have ever seen her eat in a single week!
One day after the surgery
Two days after surgery
Three days after the surgery and still very hungry
Two weeks after the surgery. We have visited the doctor for a followup and everything looks good. We will see her again in six weeks for a full checkup and she will be ble to tell us if any further correction is needed. I have noticed some deviation still, but was told this was normal during healing time.
I think she looks beautiful!