We’re in between two very important appointments that focus on Solly’s vision. The first, a check in with our pediatric ophthalmologist, was yesterday afternoon, and that appointment brought us both really good news and then news that was, as the French would say, comme ci comme ça.
The good news – the really good news – is that Sol’s eyes are perfect. Healthy and normal, meaning they can see. And, boy, was he a trooper to go through the eye exam to determine this. Eye drops for dilation and then lights shinning into his eyes for more than a comfortable few seconds.
The news that is more eh than anything else is that we don’t know what’s causing him to gaze to the left. Our ophthalmologist has a hunch that it could be Cortical Visual Impairment or CVI. This refers to an impairment in how the brain processes the image that is sent over from the eyes. An impairment might be field cut vision, meaning that he has trouble seeing things on one side, or he could have a preference for certain objects. Our doctor is referring us to a specialist for an assessment to see if CVI could be the culprit. The positive note here is that with early intervention, vision with CVI can drastically improve. (Hey, neuroplasticity!) The other positive note is that the doctor suggested we get in touch with a vision therapist to begin treatment as early as possible. Good thing we already have that on the calendar for next week!
After our appointment, I posted our scenario in the CHASA Facebook Group (a place for Mom’s of pediatric stroke survivors – an awesome resource for Mamas like me!) to see if any other babies had a similar eye gaze to Sol’s. We’re not alone! I found that some causes of the gaze were linked to CVI while another was linked to small optic nerves and others were without cause and babies simply grew out of it. The bottom-line is that all of those babies’ vision improved drastically in the first year.
The progress that we’ve made so far with Sol’s vision in PT and OT along with some of the milestones he’s reached tells me (and my gut) that he can see to some extent and we’ll need to keep working to get those eyes to the midline. More to come. Onward and upward!