how did they even know she needed glasses?

Probably the most frequently asked question I get is how we knew that Zoe needed glasses. And fair enough. Zoe’s not a big talker yet, it’s not like she could read off letters on a vision chart or anything like that.

Around nine months, we noticed that Zoe’s eyes weren’t always aligned.

(notice that even though the eyes are not perfectly aligned, the reflection from the flash is in the center of both pupils)

We mentioned it to our pediatrician at her 9-month appointment. Of course, on that day, Z’s eyes were perfectly straight, but luckily our pediatrician believed us and recommended that we contact an ophthalmologist about it. She also recommended that we bring with us pictures in which she looked cross-eyed. This was a great suggestion!

So I’ll reiterate. If you are taking your child in for an initial visit because you notice his or her eyes not lining up correctly, snap a few pictures (especially with flash) and bring them with you. That way, even if your child’s eyes are perfectly aligned that day, you can still show the doctor what you’re seeing.

At that first appointment, they used cards with a square of alternating black and white stripes to measure her vision. You know how if you look at thin black and white alternating stripes it kind of looks like they’re moving? Well that’s the concept they use with the cards. If the baby notices the square, then they assume she can differentiate between the black and white lines. They show cards with progressively thinner lines until the baby doesn’t notice them at all. They also dilated Zoe’s eyes to get a closer look. In all, I’d say Zoe liked the eye doctor visit less than any pediatrician’s visit, even one with shots.

Based on looking at her eyes while dilated, the ophthalmologist noticed that Zoe was more farsighted than normal (all babies are a bit farsighted), and she agreed with us that Zoe’s eyes weren’t always aligned, but she wasn’t too concerned and told us to keep an eye on her, and watch particularly for photos where the flash reflection in the eyes are not in the same place on both eyes. At that time, all of her pictures had the flash reflections lined up.


(an example of a picture taken a few months later of Zoe’s eyes not lined up and the flash reflection not being in the same part of the eyes).

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3 responses to “how did they even know she needed glasses?

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  2. My daughter has the same problem, we first noticed it when she was around 18 months and it’s been slowly getting worse since then. She’s seen two different eye doctors, all agreed that she needs glasses to correct the problem. Problem now is, she refuses to wear her glasses, she will wear them a few times a day for 10-20 minutes and then pushes them away. I’ve heard that kids usually take to the glasses because they notice a difference in what and how they see, but it’s hard to tell if it’s making any difference at all with my daughter. I try not to fight her too much but I’m so afraid her eye will get worse if I don’t force the glasses on her. And, I won’t lie, all the stories on how they could go blind from their “bad” eye if left untreated don’t help one bit either. Is there anything you tried with your daughter that worked? Thanks.

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    • Hi Louisa, We had a tough time for a bit getting Zoe to wear her glasses, she’d leave them on for just a bit, and then take them off. I just tried to keep smiling and putting the glasses back on, no many how many times she took them off. If she started crying, I’d set them aside for 5 – 10 minutes until she calmed down, and then we’d try again. Basically, I tried to wear her down, and eventually, she began wearing them a bit longer.

      You might also see if anything leads to her taking her glasses off faster. For us, boredom and tantrums definitely led to her glasses coming off immediately. I know some parents have had good luck putting the glasses on when they go out to new places where the newness distracts them from their glasses. Or try having an activity that your daughter absolutely loves that she can do as soon as her glasses are on, again to distract her once the glasses are on.

      If she’s old enough, you might also try stickers or some other little treats as a reward.

      Good luck, please keep us updated. It’s very hard, I hope it gets easier quickly.

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