Testimonial: Adam is wearing contact lenses!
Optometrist: Stephanie Venter
A few months ago, we started noticing that Adams left eye was pulling in towards his nose when he focused in something close to his face. It started off being very intermittent and it began happening more and more often. We took him to the ophthalmologist and were told he needed glasses because his brain was ignoring his left eye as the left eye was much weaker than the right.
Off we go to recommended optometrist – Spectacle Warehouse. I had NO idea that getting the right specs for a little one would be so difficult! I thought we were going to walk in… choose what we liked and voila! How wrong I was. There are so many things to consider when fitting these little ones with a pair of glasses –the eyes should look through the centre of the lense, the arms/band shouldn’t push on his head and ears, nose bridge, lenses not touching eyelashes etc! We just could not find the perfect fit (Frame 1 and 2 lasted a few days) – the glasses hurt him on the side of his head, and pushed down on his ears. At this point I had done some research and asked whether they stocked Tomato glasses for babies and kids, and they were able to order us a pair from Joburg and the next day we went to fit them on (This would be frame 3).
They looked ok to me – but I am not an expert in glasses (although I do know a whole lot more than I did a month ago!).
Long story short, the frame they had ordered was a bigger size because all of the previous frames we had tried had hurt Adams head, but when the lenses had been made for the frame, the glasses were SO heavy and kept falling down his face. His was taking them off more than ever before. I was starting to feel completely hopeless. I could not sleep that night stressing over the glasses and being unable to find Adam the perfect fit.
The next morning, we went to our new Saturday morning hang out – Spectacle Warehouse of course LOL! We had been there every Saturday morning for the past month trying to solve the riddle of the perfect specs for Adam. Our main concern was the frame which was too large for his face and he was not looking through the centre of the lenses, and they explained that they had accommodated for the fact that he was not looking through the centre when they made his lenses, and that we were trying to find a happy medium for Adam – glasses which did not hurt him, but which still helped his sight.
They very kindly gave us a smaller pair of Tomato frames (Frame number 4) to try as well, and luckily the lenses from Frame 2 could be cut down to fit into it. We now had Frame 3 and 4 to try out for a few days and decide which worked best. Meanwhile Stephanie Venter, the optometrist in duty explained that we had another option… we could try contact lenses for Adam….. WHAT??!?!!? I had never heard of a baby wearing contact lenses but since I had been a contact lense wearer for many years myself, and I know how amazing they can be, I was open to the suggestion. She said she was going to get the go ahead from our doctor first and ordered a trial pair for us.
Meanwhile back at the Jooste household the Spectacle Police were out in full force – the doctor said it was VERY important for Adam to wear his glasses 24/7, so 24/7 it HAD TO BE!!!!!! Well, if it was up to me, but unfortunately with a 1 year old, they were in his mouth half the time, the other half they were so dirty and smeared with gob that he probably could not see through them anyway, and we could not clean them at every 2 minute interval. We were doing our best and going bonkers in the process – all 3 of us.
Spectacle Warehouse called to say his trial lenses had arrived, so we took Adam in during his nap time. He was so tired and had clocked out. Stephanie put in the first lense and allowed me to put in the second lense. The plan was to keep the lenses in for 2 days, then take them out, clean them and put them straight back in – taking them in and out while he was sleeping.
FFW a day, and it was time to take the lenses out that night. I was sweating bullets all day, and finally bedtime rolled around, and Adam was asleep. Every time I tried to get the lenses out, he would wake up and we had to let him fall asleep and try again. Attempt number 4, we left Adam to sleep for at least half an hour before attempting to take the lenses out again. We finally managed to get them out, and by this time Adam had woken up. We were not going to try and put them back in that night, and he slept with no lenses. The next morning we got ready to put them in again, while he was asleep in his cot. When we touched his eye, he started waking up, so we put him onto his change mat and cooed and chatted and before he knew it we had popped both lenses into his eyes with no fuss at all.
That afternoon Adam went back to Stephanie so she could check that everything was fine. Everything looked great and much to my surprise and pride, he was the first baby that she had ever fitted with lenses! This boy is just a miracle boy in so many ways! Stephanie showed us a very handy trick to take out the lenses, and last night we were able to remove the lenses using her trick BEFORE bed time while Adam was fully awake, and on the first attempt. We are well and truly sold on the idea of contact lenses for Adam.
He is so much happier, and we can tell that he is enjoying the gift of sight! He is fiddling much more, more interested in things and his face even looks more animated – maybe he is seeing facial expressions better than ever before!
What a game changer for him and for us. The Spectacle Police have been laid off and The Joostes are back!!!!! Thank you Stephanie, for thinking out of the box, I hope many more optpmetrists can learn from you!! Also, thank you to all of the staff and optometrists at Spectacle Warehouse for your patience and understanding during this process. Not once were the staff irritated when we were unhappy with a pair of glasses, they just assured us we would find the solution, and I think we finally have.