Monday, January 14, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

I know, cheesy title, but I had to. Dean went to the eye doctor today! He has already had several eye exams by a pediatric ophthalmologist, but this time we went to a developmental optometrist. She looks at not just how well Dean can see (his vision is 20/40, just in case you were wondering :)), but also how the eyes are working together in various tasks. Dean doesn't have strabismus like many children with PWS do, but his eyes don't track completely on target the way they should when he is doing activities that require focus (reading, fine motor tasks).

The whole reason we wanted Dean to be evaluated for this is because his fine motor skills are definitely... lacking. He's making progress in OT and we just wanted to make sure that any potential complicating vision issues were either ruled out or treated.... yet another thing to check off the list of potential PWS-related concerns that we at some point have to address. When I think about all the specialists we've been to for Dean, I'm both completely amazed and numb to have to step into another office and fill out all the paperwork, have the same discussions, etc. So... there was really nothing lost by getting the exam (except dealing with two kids under 4 who were trying to run through the office and/or operate the machinery and exam equipment at every chance they could get!)

The verdict? Dean does not *need* glasses, but he might benefit from a pair of what are basically reading glasses for when he does any sort of activity that requires focusing up close. Because low muscle affects EVERY muscle, including those of the eyes, those muscles tire more quickly than those of someone who has normal tone. These glasses would give Dean's eyes the ability to relax a bit while he is focusing so that he can concentrate on the task/activity at hand instead of having to be so exhausted just from trying to get his eyes to work correctly.

We left without a pair of glasses. It was going to run us almost $300 to get them (we don't currently have vision insurance!) and that was hard to swallow for a 3-year-old who doesn't even have to wear them all the time (and who might decide not to wear them at all!). Would love recommendations for places that would be cheaper! We did find the cutest pair that made Dean look like a distinguished little man. Would be fun to get them, as long as I can justify it!


Jennifer said...

Glasses are in general ridiculously overpriced. Check out Zenni Optical ( You can get a pair of prescription glasses for under $20. I was skeptical but I wanted some glasses for backup and to wear at night after I take my contacts out, so I ordered a pair. They're great and you can't beat the price! My sister got some prescription sunglasses from them and is completely happy with them too. They'd definitely be worth trying out for Dean.

Janet Gulley said...

First of all, Ayden Jane was given a pair with the opthamologist saying she does not NEED to wear them but to encourage her to try them a bit. We made them standard gear for school. We found that once she gets them on for 5-10 min. she forgets about them... Now she wears them a LOT. We have her use them during IPAD time or when she is reading books. Her glasses were covered my medicaid... so not sure about the whole cost thing.

Ali Foley Shenk said...

Janet, how did you get Medicaid to cover the glasses? If nothing else, I think I'm going to try Zenni Optical (thanks, Jennifer!) or something similar to get Dean some cheaper glasses. I just can't stomach spending $300 on some glasses for a 3-year-old that he doesn't technically *need* but just would help him... and I don't even know if he will wear them! I hope, like AJ, he will adjust to them and wear them more. The doc said to have Dean wear them whenever he's looking at books, doing fine motor activities, or doing something like the iPad... umm, so basically all the time? :)

Quinns said...

Well, since Kiley has had about 4 pairs of glasses I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on this one :) Medicaid will cover most of it, you may want to check out Miraflex glasses which is the pink pair Kiley started out with, they were great but the band kept bugging her hair (not so much an issue with Dean). They only cost about $30 after Medicaid. Just bring the prescription and Medicaid card and they handle the paperwork, piece of cake. Miraflex are flexi and if he falls on his face (which our kids do) they won't hurt him. We don't have vision ins. either. Costco is also worth looking at, theirs only cost about $70 and because its a kid they upgrade the lenses to no glare for no extra charge because they feel its healthier for kids eyes to have that benefit. I also like a place near you called The Eye Place on Huguenot Road. Christian is our guy and loves PWS kids. They sell the Miraflex, not everyone does. Their other glasses are expensive but once in a while when Medicaid is helping (every 2 years) I go there and get the best fit/frame possible. Then I go to Costco for replacement lenses when needed for $70. Its amazing how many places don't fit kids properly...DO NOT go to our JC Penney! That's my two cents, have a great night!

Giulia said...

Ali, I have no idea about the money aspect (I live in a country where health system is completely different).

But to make him wear his glasses, how about doing by imitation ?
Like "See, your friend X is wearing glasses. Isn't it cool ?" or something similar. Wording is up to you, so use whatever works for Dean (my wording choice may not be the best, also because English is not my mother tongue).
But the rule of thumb is being exaggeratedly positive about these glasses.
Find what positive aspect works best for Dean and show it under the most positive light you can show it.
It may need some trial and error to find what works for dean (it may not be what works for another child).
But I am confident that you,ll find it.

Ali Foley Shenk said...

Yes, I believe that would help! You reminded me that there is a boy in his class who wears glasses, so we'll tell him he can be just like Jacob. :)
Ali :)

Ali Foley Shenk said...

We looked at the Miraflex ones at the eye doctor and Dean doesn't like stuff squeezing his head, so I think we're going to opt out of those. But good to know about Medicaid! So you're saying the Eye Center is expensive other than the Miraflex? We don't belong to Costco, so I don't think we can do that. :/ Or maybe I should join just for the glasses! :)