Saturday, May 7, 2011

Strabismus: Corrective Surgery and the Moopa

My little Moopa has an eye condition called StrabismusStrabismus is a condition much like lazy eye, and often they are confused.  Strabismus is actually the medical term for being "cross eyed".

Since I am no doctor or expert in anything other than diaper changing and efficient toilet cleaning, I am adding a disclosure to this post:

I am no doctor.  I am not an expert on Strabismus.  I am just a mom who cares for my munchkins and devotes her existence to sending them into the world as loving, capable, generous people (hopefully with a sense of humor since boring people are boring).  This post is purely to inform my lovely blog readers about our personal experience with Strabismus. 

When Moopa was seven months old, Hubby noticed Moopa's eyes were different.  He asked me if I saw it.

Mommy denial is a beautiful thing necessary to survival.  I told him she was just a baby.  All babies have funny eyes.

But it got worse.  I began noticing there were times she was looking at me, but her eyes weren't.  One eye was turning in every now and again.  But none of this was extremely obvious to anyone who wasn't in her company regularly.

And she is such a good little Moopa.  It was "her".  It was endearing.  Creepy at times, but endearing all the same.

And then at her one year check up she failed an eye exam.  This sent us to an Ophthalmologist.

He told me it was an illusion.  That the bridge of her nose was wide.  I drove all the way to his office, arranging sitters and packing snacks to hear my daughter was an illusionist. 

Now, moms know what they know.  And in my heart I KNEW it was not an illusion.  If it were she would be giving David Blaine a run for his money.

This is where I stipulate how important I feel it is to see pediatric doctors when you are dealing with pediatric conditions.  I believe this first eye doctor was not equipped to examine a one year old baby, nor did he have the desire to treat a child that young.

After seeing this doctor, I decided to wait a year.  And then a dear friend (who I have blogged about) was visiting.  She is one of Moopa's Godmothers.  She is also a nurse.

She urged me to get a second opinion.  We agreed you only get two eyes.  No time to leave issues and concerns unaddressed.

And so I went back for her 18 month check up and my pediatricians agreed she had Strabismus.  And they now referred a pediatric Ophthalmologist.

We went to see Dr. Rush in November of 2010.  Her office was child friendly and she had every gadget necessary to properly examine Moopa.  I felt comfortable and I trusted her.  She was on top of her eye examining game.

And she diagnosed my Moopa with Strabismus.  I was relieved because I was beginning to feel like a crazy person who enjoyed having my child get eye exams.

Dr. Rush continued to monitor Moopa and it was determined the only correction for her was surgery.  Strabismus is a muscular issue, and for my daughter surgery was the only way to correct it because her vision was perfect.

Children are resilient.  And I knew the younger the better because I didn't want to deal with school yard teasing or any vision loss in the future.  I also didn't want to traumatize little Moopa with eye surgery when she was old enough to understand it.

And so Friday morning we arrived at the hospital at 6am for Moopa's eye surgery.  Mommy denial kept me calm.
 Moopa was so excited to be out with Mom, Dad and Grandpa all by herself.  She behaved like it was  "Moopa's Day Out".  She was laughing, playing with nurses and running amuck.  She was unfazed.
Moopa was soon prepped, given a drug to make her relaxed and even happier then she already was, and the nurse ran her IV.
 I then was allowed to accompany her into the operating room.  One person was able to stay with her while she received her anesthesia.  Hubby would have loved to go but it would have meant a serious death match.

Even though Moopa was quite entertaining on narcotics, this is where Mommy denial could no longer save me.  My heart broke many times for my little Moops yesterday morning.  Watching her go under anesthesia was just the beginning.

Nurses, IV's, anesthesia, recovery, sedatives and bloody eyes are a small snapshot of our day.  The sight of her eyes after they were operated on was much worse than anything else.  I can say with confidence this has been harder on us than it has been on her.

We were home that afternoon and Moopa rested.  She spent her afternoon sleeping off all the drugs.  I took the snuggling opportunity to join her.
And today, with eyes that would frighten Frankenstein, she is happily playing and running around like a crazy person.

I will not include pictures of her eyes to spare you the nightmares.  Trust me you don't want to see them.  But in a week or so I'm looking forward to seeing her eyes work as they should.

I cannot thank Dr. Rush enough.  While approximately 30% of cases need more than one surgery, I am holding out hope Moopa will not be one of them.

I am now looking forward to 10 days of attempting to administer eye drops and cold compresses.  Gonna be a real hoot.  Always an uphill battle with toddlers.

Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day Weekend!


  1. Such a sweet little angel resting after her surgery!! It's definately tougher on us than it is on them!! Praying that she won't need more surgery!! Love you guys!! And look good in all the surgery gear....hat, white jump suit :)

  2. Hugs for your little one ad for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. It's so hard to see little ones have to go through anything like's wishing a speedy recovery.

  4. I continue to pray for your little angel~! You and Brett seem to have made it through the roughest part of the surgery~! I hope that her physical pain is minimal~! She appears to have been well prepared for the surgery, which is a credit to you and Brett~! Your blogs are amazing, Jodie~! Please continue to inform and entertain your readers~! You are a natural, as you have always been~!

  5. I hope she is doing well. Have you looked into vision therapy to train her eye muscles so the eye turn doesn't return despite the surgery? It can be incredibly effective and help teach her eyes to stay straight on their own. Its important to do after surgery- like going to rehab after knee surgery. Its like physical therapy for the eyes. A website will help you get more info and find a doc that does it if you haven't looked into it already

  6. Our daughter was also diagnosed with strasbismus..the 1st pediatric doctor said surgery right away when she was 10 months old but we waited & got a 2nd opinion & waited to have her surgery when she was just over 2 yrs old..God must have been watching over us because once the 2nd doctor did the surgery he said it was good that we waited because her eye muscles were underdeveloped & if the surgery had been attempted earlier, they would have not been able to reposition the muscles because they were so her eyes are straight but not too often we do see one of her eyes still a little off center but still glad we did the surgery as well. Hope all is well with yours.


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