Monday, September 08, 2008

The Eyes Have It

I wear contacts. Eric does, too. We're both pretty bad off in the visual department and kind of wondered how Caitlin was doing so well with that whole "seeing" thing and all.

Then it happened.

I went to school to meet the teacher and noticed that Caitlin's desk was in a different location than it had been after the first week of school. I wondered if that had to do with her behavior or the teacher's preference, so I asked Caitlin about it the very next evening. She mentioned, casually of course, that the other location was too far away from the board.

My ears perked up.

"What do you mean?" sez me.
"Well," sez she, "I was just too far away from the board."
"But what does that mean?" I sez, fishing around without trying to lead the witness.
"It was hard to see." She paused for a moment and then added in a rush, "But it's not like I need glasses or anything!"
"How do you know if you need glasses or not?
"Well, I just don't, that's all."

Then there was a flurry of activity: the downloading of a vision chart, scrambling for the measuring tape and getting a somewhat unwilling Caitlin to stand there and read that. Then getting her to move closer when she couldn't see anything.

Then closer.

Then even closer.

Then there was the immediate phone call to our optometrist to set up an appointment for the next available opening.

I suppose it was inevitable, but I had hoped....

According to Dr. K. there was a 30% chance that her eyes would have been just fine, but no, Caitlin didn't beat the Crazy Nearsighted Odds. Instead, she got to sit in the fancy chair and attempt to read the real eye chart.

"Just read any of the letters you can make out to me." said the helpful assistant.
"I can't see anything." Caitlin replied. I was unsurprised.

Flick. The letters got bigger. "How about now?"
"Nope." Still unsurprised.
Flick. "Now?"
"Nope." My eyebrows started lifting towards my hairline.
Flick. "Can you read them now?"
Caitlin finally tried to read the letters and made a complete hash of it. My eyebrows were officially stuck in the Oh My God She's Blind! position.
Final enlargement. Only two letters were on the line. They're HUGE. "Can you read them now?"
"S and L." Caitlin replied.
The assistant dropped down one level. Caitlin tried a little harder to read the letters and got them mostly correct. At that point, the eye test was over and the assistant went to go get Dr. K.

Wow. Oh, wow.

How long has this been an issue and she didn't tell me? For that matter, why didn't the teacher mention that Caitlin was having a hard time seeing the board? Is it possible this has been going on for the last two years? I have no idea, but it seems really sudden!

Previously, Caitlin could read all manner of signs as we were driving along in the car, so this was a big surprise to me. Apparently eye changes can happen just that fast as the eye gets squished out of the proper spherical shape. I'm just glad that we caught it as quickly as we did.

Caitlin is kind of worried about being teased.
Here kitty, kitty!

But I think she'll be OK. We role-played our way through a few situations, just in case.

The eyes are beautiful, but they don't see so good!

As for me, my 3rd grade teacher was the one that told my mom I was squinting at the chalkboard. Glasses at eight. Unsurprisingly enough, I kept "losing" them. Eric didn't realize anything was wrong with him until he was eleven and jokingly put on a friend's glasses. What a surprise when everything suddenly came into focus!

What about you? How did you find out you needed glasses (If you do.)?


Missy said...

Around here they test vision every year at school. When I was in school they only tested every couple of years. I failed my vision test miserably in third grade. After seeing the optometrist he guesstimated that I had probably needed glasses for about 2 years. First day I wore glasses to called 4 eyes within the first hour. So good for you for doing the prep work! I am ridiculously and horribly nearsighted. My oldest seems to be following in those footsteps. She has had glasses since second grade. #2 is in the "clear" (ha!) so far, but given family history (Every single person has glasses) our eye doctor says that it is not a question of IF my kids will have glasses, but when. I about need a second job to keep us all in glasses or contacts. Sorry..this went on longer than I intended!

ellen said...

My mom got her glasses in 3rd grade too. I didn't need mine until my early 20's. Dan got his at a very early age too. Both of Dan's parents and his siblings all wear glasses.

We're going to keep a close eye on our kids because we know it's inevitable. They're due for a check again this year.

She'll do just fine. She can get some really cool glasses these days. She'll be a trend setter. No one else will be as cool as she is.

Em said...

I was 14/15 -- I actually got in a fight with my 10th grade history teacher that he was using poor-quality chalk (I could still read the yellow kind, but not the white!) and he said something along the lines of "maybe it's just *you*! I thought about it a bit, and then asked to be tested... yep, nearsighted!

filthEdesign said...

i think val was having issues in class and we had to go to the big city to see an eye dr. so i went along for the ride :) i ended up with a glasses spent more time in trees, i think, than on my face that first year and then next year i couldn't read the big E on the chart :(...i think i was 5 or 6...

john was 7ish when he got his first pair but didnt' start wearing them regularly until about 9 years old when he started to really need them...

filthEdesign said...

oh and luckily glasses are much more stylish and en vogue these days than they were in 1981 when i got called 4-eyes as well...

Tracee said...

Not so much with the glasses for me, but BOTH my nieces ot them just before school started this year. Kindergarten and first grade, oy vey. Little miss Kindergarten's eyes could only be corrected to 20/60, hopefully next week the new{er} glasses will help!Of course they're still adorable, the two of them( I could be a very biased auntie..)

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Compared to us, this kid has nothing to worry about. The glasses for kids these days are so stylish! When I think of the thick-lensed, ugly plastic frames my friend and I had to wear...

Bobbi said...

I was in 4th grade when I finally admitted I couldn't see the board at school - my eyesight was horrible and I've worn glasses ever since.

My older 2 daughters can see perfectly, but my youngest - let's just she wasn't happy with me when she had to get glasses in 3rd grade!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Missy, plenty of space to write! The internet doesn't mind!

Ellen: a friend of hers is jealous already and hasn't even seen the glasses she chose!

Em: now THAT'S a cool story!

Emily: I can just see your glasses from the 80s. Mine were ugly and brown.

Tracee: I bet your nieces are VERY cute.

SC: the options are WAY nicer now. More expensive, too. One set was listed at $193! And that's just for the FRAMES. Aiee!

Bobbi: your elder two are lucky! Tell your youngest all the smart kids wear glasses!

kristi said...

I was blind in 1st grade..LOL! My Mom made me wear mine on a granny chain around my neck!

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