Can you tell me about High Myopia and how it affects your Life? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-24-2007, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I took my dd for her bi-annual opthomology check and the optho adjusted her glasses prescription so now she has a correction of -7.5 & -8 (high myopia).

As I was trying to find out some sort of correlation to visual acuity (the standard 20/40 kind of description) and the lens strength (-8 diopters), I came across a description that stated a lens strength of -5 diopters usually meant that a person could not read an eye chart at all without corrective lenses. This scares me a bit.

I have no experience personally with vision impairment. My eyes have always been good so I've not worried about it. I'd really like to hear about other's stories with high myopia or other visual impairment and how it affects you and your life. Can you get a driver's liscence? Can you see the alarm clock? Is it difficult to see details like where the edge of the steps are or if the cracks in the sidewalk protrude? Has it gotten worse, better or stayed the same over the years? I'd just like to understand what my 21mo old dd "sees" on a daily basis when she's not wearing her glasses.

BTW, if I understand correctly, visual acuity cannot be determined until the child is old enough to describe what they see since two people with the same lens strength may have 2 very different acuities depending on how well they can each compensate for the impairment. Is that right?
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Old 07-24-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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First of all "Myopia" is nearsightedness. I don't know anything about the numbers you mention, but I do know I haven't been able to read an eye chart without glasses since before puberty, decades ago.

Hopefully someone here is an eye doctor and can offer some support! It must be very frustrating with a preverbal child. Mine didn't come on until late elementary school.

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Old 07-24-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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I don't know what equipment your opthamologist has, but many of them can automatically tell your diopter with a cooleroo machine that sees the image focus on your retina. I haven't been asked "better--or worse?" for years. So the days of having to describe what you're seeing may be over.

I have what many call severe myopia; a -6.0 diopter in one eye and a -7.something in the other. My husband is up between -7 and -8 in both eyes. Heck no, we can't see the alarm clock (without glasses on), but it's not like we're unable to compensate. I can walk around the house just fine without my contacts in; I can't look for a needle on the floor or anything, but I don't trip over things. Everything is just extremely blurry; it doesn't look odd or weirdly shadowed or anything like that. I can read without my lenses in (I just hold the book closer). We both have completely corrected vision with glasses/contacts (20/20 in both eyes) and we both have drivers' licenses and everything else we need. I would say that I've honestly experienced NO adverse effects from having really bad (when it's uncorrected) vision.

My personal concern is for your daughter being so young. As your eyes grow, they tend to become more myopic, not less. So she may have a substantially higher prescription as a child and adult, and at some point it DOES become almost impossible to fully correct. So I would chat with your doctor about that, but honestly as long as the problem only myopia and is correctable with normal glasses, I think she's probably seeing everything just as well and normally as you are (through her glasses), and when they're off she sees normal colors and light and movement; it's just super blurry.
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:28 PM
 
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My stepmother is legally blind without her glasses or special hard contacts. She can't wear soft contacts because they can't make a prescription strong enough for her. Her glasses are about half an inch thick She gets along fine, drives and all that.
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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I have no idea what my numbers are, but I wouldn’t try to function without my glasses or contacts. Would I run into things? Nope. I might step on the little tiny toys on the floor though. And it wouldn’t be very fun, because everything would be a blur of colors. If I lived in the pre-glasses era I’d be able to get along, I’m sure, but I’d always be squinting at stuff trying to figure out who the heck was walking towards me. I wouldn’t be able to read. My alarm clock has to be about 12 inches from my face before I can really read the numbers (they are about an inch high). It’s annoying to have to deal w/ glasses and contacts, but I’ve had glasses since 3rd grade and they are just part of my life. Just not something I really put a lot of thought into until the boys try to grab them off my face.
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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I have -6 and -6.5, so not as severe as your daughter, but everything that pps have said is my experience as well.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:16 PM
 
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I can't see the alarm clock. My husband got one with a bigger display, but I still can't see it because it is dimmer and when I look over there at night, I can't even tell it has numbers on it. If I make a tiny space with my fingertips and look through that, sometimes I can make out the time.

I'm not sure of my vision in diopters, but I have contacts that I don't wear because I can't see as well as with them as I can with my glasses. According to the box, the PWR for my right eye is -5.75 so I think that corresponds to diopters in some way. I also have astigmatism and it is worse in my left eye, but I'm less near-sighted in that eye. So not as bad, but I like to wear my glasses in the swimming pool. I hated that I couldn't see very well when I was in the pool, and now I just wear the darn things anyway.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:35 PM
 
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I have no problem driving-I just have to wear my glasses (obviously). I've never had any problems with day-to-day life. I can't read the smallest print on the eye chart even with my glasses but I've never had to read tiny print across a room any other time so it doesn't really bother me.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks

From what I observe with dd, she can certainly make her way around the house without trouble She seems to see things better if they are moving and she has some trouble with walking in unfamiliar places since she's always looking down instead of in front of herself. She's been better since she got her new glasses about keeping them on again- she used to be great about it but I guess when her eyes changed this time she's been taking them off more often than wearing them. The new script helps.

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As your eyes grow, they tend to become more myopic, not less. So she may have a substantially higher prescription as a child and adult, and at some point it DOES become almost impossible to fully correct.
I have actually discussed this with dd's optho and she said that when a baby is found to be nearsighted at a very young age, it is unlikely it will get much worse. DD got her 1st pair of glasses at 9mos old and it has only changed -.5 in her one eye. I actually asked if it would change that much every year and the optho didn't think so. I also spoke to a mother whose son was nearsighted and she said that his lenses were something like -19! And although he was actually considered legally blind the glasses corrected his eyes enough for him to make out pictures and other details. He was also very young, though.

It does make it very difficult that she can't articulate much yet. I hope as she gets older it will get easier for her. It's very interesting to me that she didn't really begin to make any imatative noises until after she got her 1st pair of glasses. I guess she couldn't make out my face well enough to imatate me. She also began to crawl shortly after that, too. I am very glad her vision impairment was caught so early. It would have been heartbreaking for me as a mother to find out much later that she spent so many monthsor even years not being able to see things around her.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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I also can't see the alarm clock unless I have my eyeglasses or contacts though I've given up contacts in the past few years (too much of a hassle). I have no problems walking around our house without my glasses but I don't make a point of doing it since everything is very blurry. Up close things are easy to discern but things that are say 10 feet or more away are quite blurry. For those things, I can see the colors, the shape, the location but I can't detect fine details. For example, I just took off my glasses and I can see a dark blue chair about 7 feet from me but without my glasses I can't see the lint on the seat. And as for navigating without my trusy spectacles, I don't trip or fall though I don't make a point of walking around without my glasses. I don't think at this point I could see the cracks on the sidewalk without my glasses but earlier on when my prescription wasn't as strong I probably could have. My myopia is more of an inconvenience to me than a life altering condition. From the time I was diagnosed, my myopia got incrementally "worse" but it's nothing that's terribly worrisome. In the past two years or so my nearsightedness has stayed about the same. I can put on a pair of glasses I had three years ago and see fine. Whereas if I put on a pair from say ten years ago the correction isn't strong enough for my eyes now.

I've thought about LASIK but I am too scared to have a laser anywhere near my eyes. DH is adamant about doing LASIK and his myopia is worse than mine so I'll let him be the guinea pig.

I started wearing glasses in high school so I don't know what it's like to have myopia as a young child. Perhaps someone else can speak about that. Interstingly enough I'm the only nearsighted person in the immediate family. My parents have good vision and so do my siblings.

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Old 07-24-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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That's about my correction, though it progressed to that and stopped there when I was about 16, so your daughter's may still increase. Yep everything is fuzzy with my glasses off. I function just fine, I draw things with very fine detail and can do everything anyone else does with my glasses on. I rarely think about it. I might go in for the laser surgery when I get towards bifocal age.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:22 PM
 
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My situation is worse than your daughter's, and although it's not something I'm happy about, and it's sometimes a pain in the neck, I wouldn't say it's affected my life significantly negatively, either. There are far worse disabilities to have.

I am a -6 diopter in one eye, have uncorrectable dim vision in the other, and have double vision as well. The myopia and double vision are mostly correctable, so I can drive. I cannot see details unless something is very close to my face.

I wear hard contacts (rigid gas-permeable) because I haven't been able to find a soft contact that lets enough oxygen through -- I have dry eyes so this is a serious thing. My vision would be best with soft contacts because I have astigmatism, because soft contacts form to the eye, but it's okay with hard contacts. It's far better with the contacts than with glasses, because the thicker the lens, and the farther away from the cornea the lens sits, the more distorted your vision will be.

Your doctor can give you lenses that will give you an idea of what your daughter is seeing. This is very close to what I see with my myopic eye: http://www.sparklingplanet.org/image...livingroom.jpg (As you can see it's not a simple blurring, there's some ghosting and starbursting) Original photo: http://www.sparklingplanet.org/image...ingroom600.jpg

Quote:
BTW, if I understand correctly, visual acuity cannot be determined until the child is old enough to describe what they see since two people with the same lens strength may have 2 very different acuities depending on how well they can each compensate for the impairment. Is that right?
I'm not sure what you're saying here, sorry. There are a number of variables that determine acuity, and currently there is no machine that can perfectly account for them all, so subjective experience is going to be the best gauge. But the machines can get pretty close.

ETA: my vision stopped getting worse when I was in my late teens, and has since then only needed minimal fine tuning from time to time. Also, I wanted to say that a benefit of being severely myopic is that without my contact in I can see VERY UP CLOSE, which is helpful when removing slivers!
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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I was a -9 in one eye and -9.5 in the other. My parents found out I had a vision problem when I was in first grade - they asked me to tell them the first letter on the chart, and I answered, "What chart?"
Honestly, once you get her used to wearing her glasses (and don't think the fact she can't see without them will make her any less likely to lose them) it won't make that much of an impact. The biggest pain for me was that I could NOT get decent-looking glasses. They had to be a certain size to be able to accommodate the thickness of the lenses, so forget trendy. Fortunately for her, by the time she really starts paying attention to her appearance, she should be ready for contacts. There are also far more options for vision correction now than there used to be. I got my first set of contacts when I was 13, and I always wore plain ol' soft contacts. I tried gas perms, but they felt like someone was sticking nails in my eyes, so I figured the allegedly less-corrected vision with the soft version suited me just fine.
I had LASIK done in 2001, correcting me to 20/35 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. People asked why I didn't go get it tweaked so my vision would be perfect, but hey, I could see to the end of my arm now! Now I can actually misplace my glasses, which never happened before - I couldn't let them out of arm's reach because I never would have found them. Still, I managed to put in almost four years as a career firefighter with my old correction. Her life isn't over, promise.
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nonnymoose View Post
I had LASIK done in 2001, correcting me to 20/35 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. People asked why I didn't go get it tweaked so my vision would be perfect, but hey, I could see to the end of my arm now!
I was reading some stats about LASIK and it seems that for a -8 there is a 68% chance that the eyes will be corrected to 20/25 and a 100% chance that they will be corrected to 20/40. So it sounds like you've achieved that! I think I'll be a little nervous about her getting any elective surgery done on her eyes but by then, they will truly be her eyes since they don't usually do that surgery until the eyes are done maturing. I've beentold that doesn't usually happen before your early 20's.

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Originally Posted by nonnymoose View Post
Her life isn't over, promise.
After all she's been through, I feel incredibly thankful for the few issues she has remaining. If the only thing that is lasting is her eyesight and need for corrective lenses, well, I'm terribly grateful! No matter what happens in the future with her eyes or her poor little battle scarred body, she is and always has been perfect in my eyes. Besides, glasses suit her
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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Fourlittlebirds is very smart to post a picture.

I have -6 and -7 diopers, and this what I would see if I looked out my window without lenses. So yeah, it's VERY blurry, but it's not like I'd actually walk into one of those trees even if I wasn't wearing glasses.
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:44 AM
 
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I'm not sure of my numbers, but I can't see the alarm clock or read without glasses unless they're like 2 inches from my face. I could walk around with no problem, but driving would be out of the question.

I never take my glasses off except to shower or sleep though. Having my senses compromised puts me in low panic mode for some reason...I can't wear headphones either. I'm weird.

It's really no big deal though, just part of life.
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
This is very close to what I see with my myopic eye: http://www.sparklingplanet.org/image...livingroom.jpg (As you can see it's not a simple blurring, there's some ghosting and starbursting) Original photo: http://www.sparklingplanet.org/image...ingroom600.jpg
Do you see the ghosting and starbursts with your glasses/contacts on? That would be very difficult to manage, I think.

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Originally Posted by thekimballs View Post
Fourlittlebirds is very smart to post a picture.

I have -6 and -7 diopers, and this what I would see if I looked out my window without lenses. So yeah, it's VERY blurry, but it's not like I'd actually walk into one of those trees even if I wasn't wearing glasses.
I love the visuals you two posted! How did you do those pictures? Did you use your own software or did you find them on the net somewhere?

And thekimballs, I looked through my dd's lenses this morning (after she popped them out of the frames for the billionth time and things looked very much like your image.
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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I have extreme myopia--like close to 2x what your dd has in both eyes. But I can see perfectly well with glasses or contacts. I don't wear contacts much anymore since having my son last spring. You just get used to having to put your glasses or contacts on to be able to see anything like the alarm clock.
I got glasses in kindergarten, and my prescription has gone up almost every year. Sometimes I wonder if the glasses were just like crutches that never allowed my eyes to heal, and that's why they got worse every year.
Hope that helps,

Hannah
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