I spy with my little eye someone who loves to smile!
And speaking of eyes, we finally have a firm grasp on what’s going on with Sol’s eyes. Over the past few months, I felt like we were getting hunches and ideas from specialists, but no concrete diagnosis. Two weeks ago, I decided to listen to my intuition and took Sol to see a pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist (how’s that for a mouthful?) to see what’s what.
Boy, am I glad I did.
This appointment took us to Children’s National for a second time, and like our appointment there with the cardiologist, I was so happy and at ease with this doctor’s attitude and outlook for Solly. As soon as he walked into the room, he said, “Before I begin, I want you to know that there are many parents who’ve sat in that chair, with a diagnosis like your son’s. I probably will see at least one other parent like you today. Stroke in children is very common.” Many doctors look at Sol like he has three heads, so this comment set the tone for a really great appointment.
The doctor then examined Sol’s vision, having him look at and follow a white card with black shapes on it, as well as a series of lights. He got right up to Sol’s face (who giggled when the doctor spoke to him), and picked him up, spinning him around in a chair to watch how his eyes moved. He looked into Sol’s eyes to check out his optic nerves. Then, because I didn’t have a copy of Sol’s MRIs, he read through the radiologists’ notes.
As a result, his findings were:
– Sol can see. There’s no doubt about it.
– Based on his medical history (his “rocky perinatal period”) and the fact that his vision is continually improving, he diagnosed him with delayed visual maturation (DVM). From what I’ve read about DVM, it presents very much like Cortical Vision Impairment, but self-improves within the first year.
– He has an obvious left-sided preference, but can move his eyes to the right. The left-sided preference is likely due to one of the areas in his brain that was impacted by the stroke. It’s possible that he could have visual field deficits – in other words, a loss of the peripheral vision on the right side.
– His eyes will likely move towards midline and the right side on their own. We will continue to work on this skill in vision therapy.
In the weeks following this appointment, we are continuing to see improvements in Sol’s vision. He is looking at us, his therapists, the dogs, and toys, and watching movement very consistently. The biggest development came today during our Physical Therapy appointment: Sol turned his head, looked at a toy that his therapist was presenting to him, and he reached out for it with his left hand. Multiple times.
It sounds like the littlest thing, but this was a huge first for Solly – particularly huge considering nearly 6 months ago, a fellow in the NICU told us that Sol could be blind as a result of his stroke. Our little man is continuing to show strength, will, and stubbornness, and we couldn’t be happier!