The “A” Word

“I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.”

-Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet


My 7-year-old needs glasses, but the panic that led to our pushing for an earlier follow-up appointment stemmed from the fear that it could be so much worse.

I mean, how does a kid go from 20/20 vision to 20/300 in a year?

Bless their hearts, I love UCSD medical group. I trust them absolutely. But maybe because my 4-year-old was with us and a huge distraction, I felt like we were kind of rushed through our first appointment. Quick in, out, simple explanation: Lucy’s one eye was fine, but over compensating for the other really poor eye. “It usually corrects itself, we see this happen a lot. If she wears her glasses, we should see it improve dramatically. Not to worry.”

And actually, I didn’t. These were doctors. If they weren’t worried with all their years of training, neither was I.

Ray wasn’t happy walking away with that. He asked a million questions that I couldn’t answer, which made me feel like world’s worst mom for not caring enough to ask them of the doctor when we were there (did I mention the crazy four year old?!). It didn’t occur to me at the time to ask the kind of questions that he posed to me as, “Well, didn’t you wonder why (fill in the blank)?” Questions that I so obviously should have asked!

What really sunk me was one evening about a week later after putting the kids to bed, Ray came out of Lucy’s room and said, “Did you know she was seeing colored spots?! What did the doctor say about that?”

“She didn’t say she was seeing spots before now. That must be new. . .”

“No, honey, she said she always saw spots.”

Bad mommy.

Did I just not pay enough attention? My heart hurt. Poor baby.

OK, Alexa was not coming with us this next time. Mommy needed to pay attention.

So, second appointment. Same UCSD. New doctor. Quick assessment (again), but this time by an opthalmologist who used the “A” word.

Amblyopia (am-BLEE-oh-pee-uh).

Essentially, the same condition my daughter had before, but now it had a name. The glasses were only helping some, but the stubborn bad eye was still holding the other back. The spots? Her bad eye was compensating with light to correct her vision. It was freaking out.

Like me.

The doctor recommended that my daughter, my sweet baby, wear an eye-patch to help speed the correction.”You might have seen the other kids? Patching is very big right now.”

Oh, cool. So it’s hip. It’s the thing to do.

“Oh, yes! They have a wonderful variety of patches the kids can pick from! Ones with butterflies, unicorns. . .”

A hip and fashionable eye band-aid. Got it.

My daughter Lucy seemed okay with it. Unicorns made everything better, even an eye-patch, apparently. Of course, we had to order them, so in the meantime, we used a felt sleeve that fit around her glasses on the bad side.

Poor little thing. That stupid bad eye kept fighting the treatment: “It’s so blurry, mommy. Can you hold my hand? What’s the clock say? I can’t read the stop sign. . .” It was killing me. I had to hold back a few tears until I dropped my little pirate off at school.

Why didn’t they use this treatment the first time? Especially since there is a small window of treatment now that she’s older (apparently before they turn 9 is the most effective time frame). Maybe they were waiting to see if it was necessary, I don’t know.

Not a great way to start the week. But at least I learned something.

A new curse word.



You can find information on the “A” word for parents here. And a link to Krafty Eye Patches (they are local!) here.

2 thoughts on “The “A” Word

  1. A very worrying time for you, Abby. It’s a good thing your daughter doesn’t object to the eye patch, although the pirate design is very appealing, which probably helps. I hope everything works well for your little one. She must be very confused by it all – and mothers always blame themselves for whatever happens! So, be easy on yourself!
    I learnt a new A word today, too. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s