“We all view the world a little differently”- a saying that can hold true both literally and figuratively. What if, unbeknownst to you, your child wasn’t seeing what was literally right in front of their eyes. That was exactly the case for Morgan Coveyduck, who at eight-year-old was diagnosed with bilateral amblyopia, an eye condition caused when the eye and brain are not working together properly causing one eye to have reduced vision.
In Morgan’s case, she was so far-sighted that she was unable to focus on anything up close and “had been almost legally blind her entire life”, according to Robin Coveyduck, Morgan’s mom. Bilateral Amblyopia affects approximately 2-4 per cent of children under the age of six and can typically go unnoticed since only one eye is affected, leading the other eye to take over most visual task.
Morgan’s parents, like many others, were unaware that their child should start visiting optometrists at an early age, which allowed her condition to go undetected for so long. It’s recommended that children have their first comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist at six months old, one between two and five years old, then annually thereafter.
Having her first comprehensive eye exam at age six meant Morgan had missed two opportunities for an optometrist to detect her condition, and treat it with methods such as vision therapy, glasses, eye drops or an eye patch. And like most eye conditions, it becomes more difficult to treat the longer it goes undetected.
Before her impaired vision had been diagnosed by a doctor of optometry, Morgan displayed learning disabilities; such as difficulty recognizing numbers or stringing together letters, panic attacks, and several behavioral traits leading many to suspect was the result of ADHD. These issues resolved themselves once Morgan’s optometrist corrected her vision with glasses.
Parents should be aware that bilateral amblyopia, like many other eye conditions and diseases, can be treated and resolved completely if detected early enough. Only a comprehensive eye exam allows a doctor of optometry to fully examine your child’s eyes and determine the true state of their vision health. To ensure you child’s vision and learning is reaching its full potential, book regular appointments with a local doctor of optometry.
For Children’s Vision Month in October, we encourage you to share your knowledge and advice with other parents when it comes to your child’s health, and we will donate $1.00 per story to First Book Canada – a charity dedicated to providing new books to Canadian children in need. Enter here.
Photo Credit: Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram