Thursday, October 4, 2012

More About Those Eyes...

We get lots of questions about Anna's eyes - especially since she wears glasses.

In my last post, I talked about Anna's eyes and some of the characteristics common to people with Down syndrome, including upward slanted lids, extra folds of skin between the nose and eye (or epicanthic fold), and Brushfield spots.

Also common to individuals with Ds are vision problems.  One common condition is called strabimus.  Strabismus is a condition when the eyes are not properly aligned with one another resulting in crossed-eyes or a lazy eye.  Anna wears glasses as more of a preventative measure than anything else.  The prescription in her eyes are so different, that the natural tendency would be to favor the stronger eye.  Then the weaker eye would basically "shut down" and start to drift and wander.   Treatment for strabismus includes, glasses, patching the strong eye to "retrain" the weaker eye, and surgery to tighten the muscles of the weaker eye.  Anna wears glasses to help even out her eyes and encourage her brain to use both eyes equally.  So far it is working -- as long as we can keep them on her!

Anna's glasses after being tossed out the car window and ran over a couple of times.

Anna has also had issues with her tear ducts.  Another common physical trait of people with Down syndrome is a small head -- and therefore, small everything else including small tear ducts, small ear canals, small airways, etc.  

When Anna was  a baby, her eyes used to get get all gunky and crusted over after every sleep.  We had to use a warm wash cloth just to be able to open her eyes sometimes.  Then when she was awake, her little eyes teared all day.  Her poor little cheeks were so red from all the irritation.   The problem:  clogged tear ducts.

Anna had her tear ducts probed 2x, and then they did a balloon catheterization on the third try.  That finally did the trick, though her eyes still tear up in the winter and get a little gunky when she has a cold.

Before one of her tear duct probing procedures...doesn't she look thrilled!
I am hopeful that we have all of Anna's eye issues under control.  I wish she didn't have to wear glasses because I love gazing into those blue eyes (and because the glasses are a pain with a small child!), but we do what's necessary, right?  And, she is pretty cute in those glasses, too =).


  1. She's BEAUTIFUL in those glasses!! And I nearly choked on my potato chips when I read the caption on the pair that had been tossed out the window and run over a few times. hahaha!! Oops...

  2. She is indeed beautiful in those glasses : ) Ella just had her 2nd surgery for strabismus and while in there they ballooned her tear ducts. Fun times. Ugh. I too wish we didn't have to deal with glasses but I must admit that Ella does pretty good with them (our van side door windows don't roll down, ha ha!) What brand are Anna's glasses? I'm always on the lookout for some that might fit Ella other than what she has!