I took Eli to see the Neuro-optometrist yesterday.
Let me start by saying that we were there for over an hour. Let me then add to that fact that we only had about 7 minutes of waiting time. The rest of the 63 minutes the doctor was challenging Eli and trying to get a handle on what is going on with him visually. This was a far cry from the hour wait and 5 minutes that typically made up our ophthalmology visits.
We were greeted by people who, right away, caught on to my bright little guy’s ways to avoid. Answered the multitude of questions he fired at them without so much as a breath in between them. Treated him with kindness and respect and encouragement in order to help him get through the tough parts.
The appointment started with the usual vision exams. Eli seemed somewhat bored with them, somewhat annoyed with them. But, he stumbled through like a trooper.
Then the doctor switched things up. He tested his ability to line up objects visually. He tested his ability to visually separate a single object into two and then align it back to one again. He tested his ability to visually track an object.
Tracking was hard. He makes this face. I wish I could capture it on film. His OT wants to videotape him doing it. He told the doctor right off that his OT made him do that task and he couldn’t do it for her. He told him he can’t do it for him either. But he tried. My word, how he struggled. It was so difficult to sit and watch him try to use only his eyes to follow an object. Take a moment and try it for yourselves. You don’t need to move your head. Your eyes follow the words on this page. Your eyes switch from the TV to the laptop and back again. Eli couldn’t visually follow a ball without moving his head.
The great news is that Eli’s vision has improved. His astigmatism is less and his far sightedness is getting better. We ordered new glasses that he is thrilled about. Glasses that he looks all too grown up in.
When those glasses arrive we will schedule more testing. Testing that will look more closely at some of the tasks he had difficulty with during this first appointment. Then we will reconvene with the doctor to determine the plan of action. There will be behavioral therapies for us to work on all summer to retrain his eyes, retrain his brain. The hope is that come fall he will have so much more visual ability. That this will be one more thing we can check off our list of things slowing him down.
At the end of an hour some things were made all the more clear. The doctor agreed with all of the concerns the OT had, that we had. He saw what we saw and has ideas to help. In the end I wanted to cry the happiest of tears. A path has opened up for my sweet boy and there are countless amazing people waiting to help him.