So this begins a long story...but everyone knows that I am usually longwinded...so here goes. Along with Noah's other health problems, he has some eye problems that we have been keeping an eye on since he was about 18 months old.
I should preface this by saying that I have a wonderful cousin, who is very much like a sister to me, who had retinoblastoma as a toddler. For those of you who don't know, that is a malignant tumor that grows on the retina. It is a cancer that is most common in kids under 5. Basically, because of our family history, I was checked as a child, found negative. My cousin was treated at St. Jude (successfully) and is a healthy happy grown woman. So, when Noah was still at infant we had his eyes dilated and tested to rule out retinoblastoma. He was negative, thankfully. During that time, we found out that he does have exotropia. Which means his eyes tend to drift outward when trying to focus on objects at a distance. Doesn't sound like too big of a deal, except it intereferes with your depth perception, etc, (which is important for driving, etc.) Also, obviously it is a cosmetic concern. Now, obviously this wasn't a concern to us for that specific reason, but we all know how cruel childhood can be when you look "different" from other kids.
So we were keeping the exotropia under observation and it wasn't getting any better. Fast forward to January. After Noah's birthday, we had a photo of Noah turn up that was very scary for us. In the photo, one eye is red and one eye is white. Most people would assume that this is a camera malfunction, etc, but in my family you know that is one of the most common symtoms for kids with retinoblastoma. In fact, it is how many parents find out their children have the tumor. So basically we contact a pediatric specialist at the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. We pack up Noah (and our scary photo) and go to see the specialist earlier this week.
He is obviously very concerned over our family history and the photo with the "white pupil". After he dilates and test Noah's eyes, we're thankful to report that there was no sign of a tumor. However, the reason for the photo of Noah turning out like that is that Noah's eyes are misaligned and that's what is also causing the exotropia. He tells us that we have 3 options. (actually 2) If Noah was a toddler we could have tried patching for a couple of hours a day, but at 5 that doensn't help. Our other option is glasses, which Noah now has. He doesn't love them, but we are hoping they help the problem. Our doctor explained how the lenses might him him (it does in about 1/3 of kids) and I will spare you the specific details. And finally, our last resort is surgery on both eyes if the glasses do not work. Needless to say, we are praying that the glasses work. We got back in 3 months so I'll let you know!
I'll post some photos later of Noah in his new glasses! Just wanted everyone to be updated.