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Squints and treatment - top tips please

(20 Posts)
twinklytoes Mon 06-Jun-11 21:44:41

DS has been diagnosed with a severe squint and poor eyesight in left eye. He's 2.5; prem birth.

We're heading back for the full eye test to gain a prescription for glasses and then discuss patch treatment as well. They've tentatively talked about surgery that can revert squint but got the impression that this isn't a normal course of treatment.

But in the meantime would love to hear your top tips for keeping the glasses on, avoiding them getting broken etc. Also where to buy glasses, best frames etc.

Am assuming the nhs voucher will cover only a proportion of the cost - anyone know how much you get? (personally wear glasses and a tad fussy and spend loads grin)

cunexttuesonline Mon 06-Jun-11 22:58:35

Hi there, my DS is 2.3 and has had glasses for the last 8 months. He has a +3 prescription, long sighted and squints sometimes (which is how I noticed he was long sighted). Since he has been wearing the glasses the squint is corrected whilst he wears them but it can be worse when he takes them off. We have another appointment at the hospital next week and I want to discuss patches with them then as they were not keen to patch him last time.

Anyway, back to your question - DS has 'mr bump' glasses from specsavers, they were totally NHS funded, he has broken them twice in the last 8 months and the replacements are also free til they are 16.

As for keeping them on, well it wasn't that easy for us to begin with, but then DS was younger than your DS when he got them. He is better at keeping them on now, it's just been a case of persisting with them but he still wont wear them 100% of the time.

Will be watching this thread with interest!

twinklytoes Mon 06-Jun-11 23:19:55

seen the mr bump glasses. DS wants fireman sam or bob the builder! had a google search and look like I might disappoint.

am hoping he'll wear whatever - he's been constantly putting my glasses on or picking up his sisters sunglasses, so hoping his own pair won't be too much of a problem.

we've decided that he's just started to realise that his eye doesn't work so well - he's got into winking and then has been seen rubbing the left eye alot. have to wonder if he's doing that to get it working.

been pre-warned to bring sunglasses and a hat to the next appointment because of the eye drops they use. hoping it won't be too traumatic.

sweetiesue Tue 07-Jun-11 12:17:20

Just thought I'd pop in and let you know my experiences with ds and glasses.

He has worn glasses since he was 9mths but I have to say the most challenging period was between the ages of 18mths and 2 1/2 as he was gaining more independence and character. We had an incentive/star chart for the days when glasses were not going to stay on. Worked for us, just kept the periods of time short, so for example keep glasses on until big hand reaches the 10 or until the beeper goes on the cooker and reward is star. Once he got 5 stars there was a small treat - sweet, box of raisins whatever suits.

Most high street chains of opticians have a range of glasses that are completely free with the NHS voucher, however some also have ranges where you can add £20 or £30 pounds and get an upgrade to "branded" or "designer" frames. We have always avoided the character or branded frames but have compromised and got an appropriate substitute. For example when ds was mad on Fireman Sam he had silver glasses with red arms/legs, Bob the Builder glasses were just bright blue frames. With dd any pink glasses were "Barbie", green ones were "Tinkerbell" etc. If you do end up putting money towards the frames remember if they get broken you will have to pay the same again to replace them where as the free ones are free to replace.
As for the drops, I have always done a little bribery and corruption. They do sting a bit at first so expect him to react and rub eyes. Again a small treat in the form of choc buttons has worked for us. He will be light sensitive so def take sunnies and hat for after as pupils will be very dilated for a number of hours.

vogonmothership Tue 07-Jun-11 12:36:43

Hello there, welcome to the wonderful world of specs and occlusion therapy!
DS is nearly 6, we have been in specs and patching since 1.
I have always found specsavers to be the best for specs.
If you have trouble keeping them on, see if you can get a sports band from sporty/outdoor shop or ebay. They hook on the arms and round the back.
The eye drops are stingy and smelly and dilate the pupils for about 24 hours, the sun is painful as the pupil can't contract to keep the light out.
I won't lie, patching can be utterly painful and stressful for all of you. You will probably need to resort to major bribery but it's worth it.
DS had successful surgery to straighten his squint, we are so glad we did it, but the eye still has very little sight.
Feel free to ask any specific questions, we've been through so much with this!!
Good luck

vogonmothership Tue 07-Jun-11 12:38:28

ps did they explain that the squint and bad eyesight are two seperate things?

Seona1973 Tue 07-Jun-11 19:05:56

dd has had glasses from the age of 18 months. She had a squint and a lazy eye (poorer eyesight in the squinting eye) and was also long sighted in both eyes. She got glasses to help her see properly and had patching treatment to improve the eyesight in the weaker eye. The patching stopped when her eyesight was pretty much the same in each eye. For the first few years she had the free frames and we didnt start paying extra for trendier frames until she was about 7. She also had a squint operation at the age of 4 as her squint was still noticeable even with her glasses on. We have been to a few different opticians and are currently with a local independant one that doesnt charge for thinning the lenses (other places charge so you may need to shop around)

cunexttuesonline Tue 07-Jun-11 19:32:55

vogonmotership - I thought the squint was caused by bad eyesight and so the worse eye is being 'turned off' and so points in?

HowToLookGoodGlaikit Tue 07-Jun-11 19:39:02

My DS is 3 and has been wearing glasses since he was 17 months. When he was little, I bought a sports band from Ebay (the only place I could find child sizes) to keep them on. After that, he had ear curls added. I always get his glasses from Specsavers, they have fun frames & are always brilliant about losses/breakages. We are on pair number 9!

DS has a squint in both eyes (though only usually one at a time) so patching is not an option. He will be getting surgery at some point in teh next year or so, so that it is all sorted for starting school.

Seona1973 Tue 07-Jun-11 20:16:57

the patching isnt to sort out a squint, it is to improve eyesight in the eye not being patched. If your ds's eyesight is equal in both eyes then patching would not help anyway.

vogonmothership Wed 08-Jun-11 19:05:55

Wanksock grinWhat Seona says, the squint is a muscle thing (too tight/too loose) ds has a straight eye now but is blind as a bat

mum765 Wed 08-Jun-11 19:58:30

My dd had glasses from age 2. we generally get them from Boots for free with the NHS prescription. we have been to other opticians, who have charged us extra for stronger frames etc, but i didn't really notice any difference in them and felt a bit ripped off really.

Boots have done repairs for free as often as we've needed them. Whereas on of our high street chain opticians wanted to sell me an insurance plan for £10 a month and frames/lenses for £70. Given that her prescription changes quite a bit, I thought it probably wasn't a good idea to spend this amount of money.

As for keeping them on, the curly ears help. I went through a phase of reward charts and things but what worked for us was just quietly distracting with a book or puzzle, then slipping them back on whilst distracted. Eventually (it took 3 years for us) they want to keep them on because they can see better.

jubilee10 Wed 08-Jun-11 22:01:08

"I won't lie, patching can be utterly painful and stressful for all of you. You will probably need to resort to major bribery but it's worth it."

Or it can be no problem at all. Ds2 (13) had a severe squint and lazy eye diagnosed when he was 4. We were told he would need surgery for his squint when he was older and was started with glasses and patches which he wore for just over a year until it was felt his eye was as good as it would get. The patching corrected his squint and to this day the optician is amazed at how well it worked. The main problem we had was his very sensitive skin couldn't take the sticky patches so he had to have a cloth one that fitted over his glasses.

Ds3 (4) was diagnosed at 3 with a lazy eye (v. slight squint). He currently wears glasses and a patch for 4-6 hours each day. He brings his patch to me to put on in the morning and removes it himself sometime after lunch. It doesn't bother him and doesn't affect his skin. He is happy with his glasses and accepts them as something he puts on in the morning and takes off at night and has only had two broken pairs.

We have always gone for the free glasses - they have loads of different colours and styles and are fixed free of charge. We use an independent optician and there has never been a problem with thinning the lenses. We really haven't had any stress at all with this.

Good luck!

mrsmon Wed 08-Jun-11 22:20:31

This is just a little experience of my own, i have a squint with an astigmatism in right eye, both eyes have bad sight so i wear heavy prescription glasses, not so bad now that they can thin the lenses down as they were when i was a child! contact lenses arent strong enough so stuck wearing glasses sad
When i was young they told my mum my eye couldnt be operated on and i never knew why until last year when i asked about laser surgery etc etc.. 1st of all i could end up with double vision which i wouldnt be able to get rid of and there was also the possibility that my other eye would turn in! i had glasses since i was 2 1/2 and found it difficult to see without them so i soon learned to keep them on, i also used patches to strenghthen my vision in the other eye, for some reason u dont use that one as much as the one with the squint!
hopefully your little one learns to love his glasses and loves to wear them smile good luck xxx

TabithaTwitchet Wed 08-Jun-11 22:25:41

I agree it can be stress free!

DD had to wear a patch for an hour a day for about 6 months when she was 2 - we got pretty patterned ones from her consultant and she loved choosing which design she would wear each day.

We made a big fuss about how lucky she was to have glasses and how exciting it was (perhaps it helped that lots of family members wear glasses, including me and DH). She got her first pair at 2 and a half. Actually our biggest problem was finding frames small enough - DD is tiny, and all the "character" ones were far too wide for her face, only the frames for babies fitted her, and I personally didn't want her to have the curly earpieces. We finally found some - she broke two pairs in very quick succession early on before she was used to them (taking them off and closing them, then trying to open them again and snapping the arm), now aged 3 she looks after her own glasses well, cleans them herself, and (usually) puts them on in the morning of her own accord.

Most adults I have known have commented positively to DD about how nice her glasses are and how lucky she is that she has glasses, especially when she first got them - I think that helped to make her want to wear them at first, and so she quickly realised that she sees much better with them! I would try and make glasses fun and exciting rather than something you need to reward for if you possibly can!

Katiebeau Wed 08-Jun-11 22:38:45

These patches and their posters have made patching stress free for DD (from about 18 months ago). www.orthopticsupplies.co.uk/Patterned%20patches.htm

She had the op at 2 (vision poor in squint eye but otherwise nothing to correct) which was successful.

Good luck!

Kandinsky Wed 08-Jun-11 22:56:19

My DD was patched for years from approx 3. Initially it was difficult as her vision was so poor in her lazy eye that she was rendered virtually blind. There was a rapid improvement in the early months followed by 4-5 years of very little change, but no deterioration. We were very tough on her at the beginning to make her let us put the patch on and keep it there. We used a star chart and rewards but also would not her let get out of bed until she had her patch on (it sounds so cruel when put like that but within a few days she had stopped protesting). By the time she was fully awake she had forgotten the patch was there. She had to get used to it as she needed to wear it for 6-7 hours a day. Her vision was so poor that we were warned that should she have an accident and damage her "good" eye she would be registered as blind. She only really had her birthday and Christmas day patch free at the beginning.

NHS provide a wide range of lovely glasses and you are entitled to a new pair every year unless the prescription changes and then you can have them sooner. We tended to get a new pair each year so we could build up some spares. She has a strong prescription and if this is the case ask to have the edges of the lenses ground to avoid the "milk bottle" effect. I don't remember having to pay for this but I could be wrong.

Now as a teenager she wears daily disposable contact lenses. As a little one she was quite malleable so we were very consistent about the patching and wearing glasses and it quickly became second nature. Maybe we were just lucky with her personality but it wasn't as traumatic as I had thought it would be. From what I have seen from other children a more casual approach is not as successful. She knew her patch could come off at lunchtime so it was routine, more difficult if it is put on a different times or sometimes not at all.

Hope all goes well.

Dysgu Wed 08-Jun-11 23:23:59

this site has been fabulous for us.

DD1 (now 4.9yo) and DD2 (now 2.5yo) were both diagnosed as long-sighted before 2nd birthdays. Both prem babies and DD1's problems definitely caused by her early, quick birth.

DD1 basically put on her glasses the day she got them (well, we put them on!) and has hardly taken them off since. However, with a prescription of +7.5 in both eyes, her glasses are the difference between seeing clearly and not! We have been patching with the above patches from the day she got her glasses - this is why her eyes are now finally working together. We are down to patching for 1 hour a day for maintenance, from up to 6 hours a day, and have our fingers crossed that we can stop patching next Wednesday after her next clinic appointment. I am currently there with one of them every other month - but hopefully that will stretch to every 12 weeks once we stop patching.

Both DDs also have squints - DD1 mostly sorted by glasses but her iris almost disappears behind her nose without her glasses. DD2 was caught earlier - due to DD1 already wearing glasses - and squint is corrected by glasses.

DD1 also has prescription swimming goggles - as will DD2 when she is a bit older and doing anything other than splashing about in the water. DD1 does trampolining and keeps her glasses on - unless she chooses to take them off which she does for forwards rolls sometimes.

We get their glasses at Specsavers now - we did use independent optician when DD1 was younger but they had very limited choice. Specsavers do charge us for having lenses thinned (and they still seem very thick!) but have never charged us for lost, broken or twisted glasses - whether to repair or replace. It has always been a simple case of filling in a form.

Both girls have 2 pairs of glasses a year on NHS voucher - with DD2's second pair we paid an extra £30 for the full flexible ones that can basically be twisted inside out. This followed us needing her first pair to be repaired 3 times in the first month she had them! They are now her spares.

We have never been made to feel anything but welcome in all of our, sometimes weekly, visits to have glasses altered, fixed etc etc.

Getting DD2 to keep her glasses on has been harder and a longer process - her prescription is 'only' +4 but a head hugger from the above site was great. It is made to measure and velcros closed so does not have to be pulled over her hair. I also pretend I can't see her if she isn't wearing her glasses - so she then puts them on and shouts, 'here me am!'

We have 'the girlies glasses gang' in our house as I am short sighted so DP is the only non-glasses wearer in the house. That does mean he sometimes needs to be reminded to put DD2's glasses on if he is getting her dressed - DD1 puts hers on before she gets out of bed. I think it just doesn't cross DP's mind as he has perfect vision.

Sorry for such a long post but I am very happy that my girls wear glasses - as they NEED to and I have never had anything but positive comments about them. In fact, I am now at the stage where the look 'different' when they do not have them on! And we have lovely opticians and optometrists who have always been very happy to answer all of our questions - and continue to advise us regarding future operations to correct the squints.

twinklytoes Wed 08-Jun-11 23:33:31

thank you all for your experiences. we've got the date through to get everything confirmed and agree treatment plan - thankfully its in two weeks - be good to get things moving, especially as DS tells me about his poorly eye and getting glassess like mummy. His elder DDs are very excited about it which is helping - they want to go shopping for the glasses too. something tells me DS might end up with a pink sparkly pair grin

I was going to go down the "they're fireman sam, they've got red arms" approach. hadn't thought about reward charts but think that might be necessary, probably also being very strict about using them in the early days.

to whoever asked - yes, the squint and eyesight were discussed as seperate issues.

thanks for the link for patches, will go take a look.

twinklytoes Wed 08-Jun-11 23:34:35

thanks dysgu cross-posts, will go read now.

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