24 November 2014

Not all eyes are created equal

The Tullinator recently failed her 4 year old vision test.  We weren't too bothered but because vision is 'a thing' for us genetically, we wanted to get it checked out straight away.  Our GP (who is several kinds of brilliant for all sorts of reasons) referred us to an Ophthalmologist who turned out to be all kinds of brilliant too.

The long, and the short of it, is that she has very mild myopia combined with an astigmatism (which causes blurry vision) and is going to need to wear glasses full time.  Which she is several sorts of thrilled about as they are purple and red, and glasses are so cool.

I can not thank the likes of Doc McStuffins, Peppa Pig and The Wiggles enough.  She's thought glasses were cool long before she ever needed them.  And she understood what would happen in an eye test and she had a framework, a context for the whole experience which didn't exist when I was a child.

Me? I wept.

Not in front of her.  We are so pumped about glasses around these parts we're practically door knocking houses to share the good news.  

This is entirely my issue.  I hated wearing glasses.  Loathed. Detested. Abhorred. Despised. Disliked. They were the focal point (boom tish) of much bullying through my school years and anybody that says "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" is wrong.  

As soon as I could I moved onto contact lenses and practically the moment they invented laser eye surgery I was there, handing over the cash.  It has ruled out a future career as a submariner and scratched any chance of me climbing Kilimanjaro but I'm okay with that.  I understand modern incarnations of laser surgery can also correct astigmatisms and let you ride submarines which is pretty ace.

These days, we know that the sooner you get onto correcting vision, the less it impacts learning, socialisation and most importantly the brain. Early intervention with refractive errors (such as astigmatism and myopia) help the brain keeps everything ticking over properly, making sure it's operating in high definition, full colour and so on.  And glasses are not 'a thing' anymore. Some people wear glasses just because they like them.  Blah. Blah. Blah. 

But this is my Tully.  One of my two beautiful children. And now one little face is going to be seeing the world through full time spectacles. Of course she'll still be beautiful, I fully appreciate that this is 'just glasses' but glasses for me were twenty odd years of feckin' awful.  My reaction was visceral, emotional and highly unexpected. 

Why Tully? She was born with it.  Quite likely because I was born with an astigmatism.  And one of my parents probably had one too and so on and so forth. Astigmatisms are not created equal but unless caused by injury to the eye are mostly genetic. One person can have an astigmatism which will cause them no problem at all ever.  You can have one like mine which meant that combined with some old fashioned myopia, I was practically blind in one eye pre-surgery. 

Yet, in the three days since diagnosis - old wives tales and peoples general inability to think before saying daft things has been eye-opening (I really am I fire with my today!). 

Let's answer those questions for you shall we?

1. Is it because you let her sit too close to the TV sometimes?
Nope. Nothing to do with it. In fact, it is entirely possible her preference for sitting closer is because the image was clearer for her. So stick that in your judgeypants and sit on it. 

2. Ah, is it because you let the girls use iPads?
Ah, nope, wrong again. Our modern parenting and lack of technophobia has not caused Tully to be short sighted. Unlike you with your narrow mind and big mouth.

3. Is this linked to her not eating enough vegetables?
Sure, food matters.  But if every toddler that went through a stage of hating a particular food group was penalised by being struck down with myopia and astigmatism, every single child in the whole wide world would be wearing spectacles. So no. 

4. How did you let that happen?
Um. I'm sorry? If the joining of our genes to make this awesome kid is 'letting it happen' - yes, this is our fault, but otherwise, bite me. 

So this week, we'll go and pick up our chosen spectacles - the ones that when she tried on in the shop led her to exclaim "Oh Mummy, I look so pretty".  

Yes, little one.  You do. All the time. And as your Mama, my wish for you to never see your self in any other way is so fierce it chokes me up. So if one more person says anything else daft about you or your glasses, hell will have no fury like me. 

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