I went for a very thorough eye test yesterday as I would like new transition lenses, ready for the summer, and I have been having some pain in my left eye. The optician was able to pinpoint the cause of my discomfort and has given me eye drops as well as new glasses. I had always had perfect vision and then, with age, I have become long-sighted and I cannot read small print or certain colours on particular backgrounds at all, without my glasses on, which is very frustrating. Since wearing glasses also, my eyesight has got worse, as though my eyes have got lazy and my problems lie in my left eye.
We know that Joshua has poor peripheral vision but he does not have the cognitive ability or the language skills to be able to undertake an eye test like mine, where he would be reading letters or saying if certain patterns were clearer or more blurred, with alternative lenses or just sitting still, with his chin resting on certain machines! He had a lot of eye tests when he was small, and they concluded that his eyes work well, but that it is, as ever, his faulty brain that prevents the messages from the eye getting through to the brain, to register sight. So glasses, we were told, will not help him.
When he could speak, he had several eye tests where instead of reading letters, he was identifying black and white images of ducks, fish and houses and he could name them all. But sadly now, he could not name them, even if he could see them. So we now live with the knowledge that his vision is not perfect and cannot be corrected for him.
We warn people that he has poor peripheral vision, and when he was younger, he would trip over things to his side but he has developed real skill in negotiating low level obstacles and now, he rarely trips over anything other than his own feet. I can recall his new teacher being concerned on one outing when he was on stage with lots of musical instruments , but she watched with amazement as he threaded his way, carefully, passed drums and neither tripped nor banged into anything. She could not believe her eyes and phoned me up to tell me what she had witnessed.
I know that he can spot me from a reasonable distance away, as I walk towards him in school, without speaking. It is usually at about the same distance away that he will point or wave, showing me that he has seen me, if he is concentrating that is. So Joshua clearly has enough functional sight and he seems to have adapted well to whatever he can see. As with all of his issues, it is his right side that he weakest, so he will often ignore food on the right side of his plate or toys to the right of him, so we have to be aware of that, but other than that, we do not have to make too many allowances for Joshua’s visual impairment. He will not let that hold him back and I think it is pretty static, I do not notice his vision getting any worse over time so we are where we are, and he deals with it, as with everything, with minimal fuss.