We had a follow-up appointment with the Opthalmologist today. This was the same one who saw the boys during their first week at the Acute care NICU. As a reminder, they were assessed at around one week old. It was determined they have a small optic nerve, but were presumed to have the ability to see at least some. However, vision difficulties are likely.
I asked for clarification on what the small optic nerve could mean. Imagine millions of fibers connecting an eye to the brain. Some of those are missing. We just don’t know which ones. It could be that only their peripheral vision is impacted. Or it could be spread over the eye, but mild enough not to have an impact. Or any other number of scenarios. We cannot assess that at this time.
J and I have been concerned about their vision. Maybe we’re paranoid or maybe it’s the fact that K literally made and held eye contact starting on day one. But we feared the boys weren’t doing what they should be doing.
They look toward lights, and they move their eyes around. But there have been very few moments where you can say with confidence they are looking at you. We’ve never seen L track, and I’ve only gotten N to do it a time or two.
I expressed these concerns and she said focusing / fixing on objects typically happens during the first 6 weeks (the boys are technically only 5 weeks old based on their due date) and tracking can take up to 3 months. In addition, the seizure medication can delay some of those milestones because they remain in a slightly sleepier state. That was all reassuring.
While we were having this chat, I was sitting in the exam chair holding N.
And he was staring me down.
She commented on it. “Well…he’s looking at you now”.
As if in response to her voice, he looked over at her.
She broke out her fancy tool (a light up toy) and he tracked it like it was his job.
That N…always up for impressing people. 😀
So N did great for his exam.
When it was L’s turn we couldn’t get him to wake up. We tried movement, patting, rubbing, a cold towel…he closed his eyes tighter. She pried them open enough to confirm he reacts well to light, and is also focusing / fixing on items. I finally irritated him enough that she could work with him a little more but he never tracked the items for her. She also noticed he tends to favor his left side. But that might also mean nothing.
Moments after the appointment was over and we were “done”, L came out from hiding and looked all around the room.
The overall message is essentially that the boys CAN see. And they are currently on track. We will see her again in 5 months to see if they are on track for a 6 month old at that point. So all in all…today could not have gone better!
If you survived that wordy explanation you deserve some photos! Sorry about the quality.