Life’s little things with Elaine Ryan

Our six-year-old daughter has been wearing glasses since she was a year and half old and was due to have another eye re-test. Over the years, we have had to sift through medical jargon, differing diagnoses and conflicting advice as to the best course of treatment for her eye squint. When it comes to making a decision which affects your child’s health or development, parents know only too well the worry of potentially making the wrong choice.

So we sought the opinion and expertise of numerous professionals and settled upon one approach that makes the most sense to us. Her consultant has a wealth of experience in his field and he is highly skilled with working with children. He instantly puts her at her ease even when administering the dreaded eye drops!

He has been very clear that however much we might wish to hurry along her progress, we must give her time to allow her glasses to do what they are designed to do; protect and aid the natural development of her vision and eye muscles.

It’s a slow process but in his opinion quick solutions are generally not possible and professionals often pushed by impatient parents set off on a path of multiple interventions in order to be seen to be doing something instead of leaving well enough alone.

After four years of eye-patching and periodically changing prescriptions, her eyes have been steadily improving and strengthening until this moment when her vision seems to have plateaued.


So where do we go from here? Our daughter has been patient and tolerant of all the poking and prodding over the years, but with her move to ‘big school’ other considerations have entered the picture. She has never had any difficulties wearing her glasses or occasionally wearing an eye patch to school, but she is becoming increasingly aware of other children’s reaction to these things.

It may just be a girl thing as our boys never paid much heed to what their classmates wore or did wandering blissfully in and out of the classroom, never noticing which child was in a wheelchair, which child has brown skin or whose hair was tousled or tidy.

The girls on the other hand seem particularly attuned to noticing differences. In the grand scheme of issues that a child may have to deal with, wearing glasses is not a big one except when you are six years old and it becomes the focus of your peer’s attention.

Our daughter tells me the names of school children who have special needs, why one is on crutches or who needs help with reading, so it is no real surprise that others notice when she wears an eye-patch or asks her why. She may not always have to wear glasses or it may be that this issue becomes the least of the challenges that life throws in her direction, either way there is a powerful lesson to be learned in discovering that just as she doesn’t like being defined by her eye glasses neither do her classmates like to be defined by what they wear, whether they look different or whether they have specific challenges.

We too are learning that how we get to our goal is almost as important as the goal itself. At this present moment, she can see all she needs to see; 85% vision is more than good enough. Perfection doesn’t in fact exist and searching for that elusive 100% can preclude us from recognising that we already have everything we need. That final 15% is not only unrealistic, but completely unnecessary; she is just perfect as she is.