Elizabeth is an active and enthusiastic four-year-old who loves animals, jumping on the trampoline, playing dress-up and Barbies, swimming and dancing. When her parents adopted her they did not receive her medical history or her parents’, but there had been no alarms about her development. She would become frustrated if she couldn’t complete a classroom assignment and showed some clumsiness but nothing particularly unusual for a four-year-old.
KidSight provided free vision screenings at Elizabeth's school in late January. Our Vision Screening Technician, Rose, sent her home with a referral after her screening indicated she might have astigmatism, which causes blurry vision due to the cornea being misshapen. When Elizabeth’s mother, Cynthia, received the referral information she called the doctor the next day to make an appointment.
Elizabeth's eye doctor at Sedalia Eye Associates discovered that she not only had astigmatism, but that the inner cellular layer of both corneas had collapsed. She was immediately prescribed glasses and is now having check-ups every six weeks. If the glasses alone aren’t able to remedy the situation, the doctor says surgery will be necessary.
It took Elizabeth a few days to adjust to wearing glasses and keeping them on, but Cynthia reports that now she doesn’t like to take them off. “She can do everything so much better now from coloring and writing to climbing and even walking because she can see her feet now.”
Elizabeth's glasses are allowing her to improve and enjoy her education. Cynthia told us, “In preschool she would get so frustrated because she couldn’t do the things they were asking her to do and give up. Now that she can see the letters she is writing her name, now that she can see the lines on a coloring page she is staying in the lines. Now she takes her time and doesn’t get upset because she can’t do it.”
Cynthia wants other parents to hear the story and learn her valuable lesson. She can look back and see things she wishes she would have noticed earlier. When a distorted view is all they have ever seen, children are not able to share their problem. Cynthia says to other parents, “Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the doctor. I went in thinking it was probably no big deal and found out that if I had waited even one more year, my child would have been blind. I had no idea there was even a problem.”
Cynthia closes her story with this beautiful moment: I’ll never forget her face when they put the glasses on her for the first time. She looked all around taking everything in and you could tell that she was in awe of her surroundings. Then she looked at me and told me, “Wow Mom….you’re beautiful!”
Many thanks to Cynthia and Elizabeth for letting us share their KidSight story.
Eye doctors recommend that children receive an eye exam before starting grade school, and children with vision or learning problems should get exams earlier. Regular eye exams can help make sure your child has healthy vision.
Learn more about KidSight, including how to volunteer, find a screening near you, and request a screening at your local childcare facility or child-friendly community event.