"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." ~Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
About two weeks ago, I learned some life changing news about my daughter's eyes that really made me feel a bunch of different emotions all at once. It all began when we went to her routine 6 month check-up appointment at her pediatrician. They did a vision screening test to check her eyes using a special machine that would give us immediate results. The results showed that one of her eyes were not focusing properly (While her left eye was looking in one direction, the right eye was looking in another direction.). After getting these results, I was a little worried. However, the doctor told us that these are usual results for babies at this age and that they would repeat the test again at her 9 month check-up to make sure everything was okay and see if the results came up the same.
At her 9 month check-up, I was determined to get the vision screening re-done, in hopes to get positive results this time around. Unfortunately, during that appointment, the machine was getting repaired so we were not able to get the test done on that day. We had to reschedule the appointment for 2 weeks later. On the day of the appointment, the nurse was having so much trouble trying to get the screening done because my daughter's pupils were not dilating. After numerous tries, the nurse was finally able to get a reading and the results were exactly the same from the first time. At this point, I was a little afraid of what the results might actually mean. I anxiously asked the doctor what was the next step to take. The doctor recommended we schedule an appointment to see an ophthalmologist and so we did.
As I sat with my daughter at the ophthalmologist's waiting room, I remembered how much I thought about the possibility of passing down my myopia (nearsightedness) to my baby. Being diagnosed with the condition since the age of 8, (which was passed down to my sisters and I by my father) I know what it's like to not have 20/20 vision. I know what it's like to have to put on a pair of glasses immediately after waking up in the morning even before getting out of bed because you won't be able to read what time it is on your alarm clock. I know what it's like to depend on contact lenses and glasses in order to do anything and everything in life. One thing I don't know is what it's like to have PERFECT vision without the help of glasses. I don't know what it's like to simply recognize someone's face from afar without having to wear glasses and that is the gift I wanted to give to my daughter. I wanted her to have what I didn't have the opportunity to experience. All of those thoughts were constantly on my mind before I gave birth and now as I sat waiting to be called, they were reemerging.
Once we were called to see the doctor, I showed him the results from the pediatrician and explained to him the purpose for our visit. He looked at my daughter's eyes but, explained to me that in order to do a precise and accurate checking of her eyes he would have to have her pupils dilated. He sent us home with prescription eye drops to put in her eyes for the next 3 nights before her next appointment. These next three days, forcing eyedrops in my daughter's eyes every night before bed, I couldn't help but to feel worried and desperate not knowing what could be wrong. I thought about her developing a lazy eye, having to wear a patch on one eye, or having to wear glasses at such a young age.
The day finally arrived to see the ophthalmologist again and I was nervous yet, so happy to finally get an answer. The doctor screened my baby's eyes with his tools while I held her in my lap hoping and praying for everything to be fine. He informed us that the shape of her lens were egg-shaped or oval shaped instead of round which means that she has an astigmatism and nearsightedness. I literally felt like a knife had gone through my heart and was pushed down all the way to the bottom of my stomach. It was exactly what I didn't want to hear. All this time I was hoping my husband's perfect 20/20 vision had saved her from the hereditary condition. However, the doctor reassured us not to panic and that she was still very young. He told us that a baby's world at her age is right in front of her and that there is no need to give her glasses at this time. He sent us home and asked to see us again once she turned one.
I informed my sisters about the results immediately after leaving the doctor's office. I was feeling really sad until my older sister said something to me that quickly made me change my emotions. She told me that I needed to be grateful to have such a healthy baby. She said that there are babies out there with far worse conditions, some even incurable and that although this was something unfortunate it's not something that will limit what she can do in life. Immediately, I realized how completely right she was. I actually felt bad for being so insensitive to what other mothers around the world might be going through with their babies. I realized that this was something my daughter could eventually adapt to unlike many other diseases out there.
As stated by Swift's quote, "vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others". During the whole process of figuring out what was wrong with my daughter's eyes, I failed to realize that vision is not just what you are able to physically see with your eyes but, what you can see with your mind and your heart. Even with the limitation of having really bad myopia and it developing more and more over the years, I have still been able to accomplish many things in life and I'm more than certain my daughter will be able to as well...
...Sew This is Life!