Staring surgery in the eye: Consenting to squint correction surgery in our six year old

Back in 2015, one of the earliest things I wrote about was our journey after discovering our one year old daughter needed glasses. As she grew and grasped self perception, around age three we went through a phase of finding her specs down the back of the sofa, as she started to realise her own image and would clearly have preferred to gone without them. 

Tigs is now six and a half, and wearing glasses is a norm for all her as it is for us seeing her with them. Part of her everyday life and as she has learnt to read and write, despite seeming to cope okay without them, she can now vocalise how she can in fact see clearly with the glasses and prefers to wear them to aid her day to day tasks.

Her squint, which was the first sign of any visual impairment, remains severe when she removes her glasses, however she hasn’t particularly noticed it herself. Of course now she is a keen swimmer and gymnast, for us, we have always hoped that something could be done to improve her squint and straighten her eyeline when the glasses are off, however have accepted that this may not be possible.

Over the years we have continued to regularly review, monitor and adjust her glasses prescription, we have patched on and off, and the message has always been clear – she is severely long sighted and as such will always need glasses. As the glasses straighten her squint, she was not applicable for surgery to correct the squint with the glasses off.

In the more recent reviews, we were told that her squint with the glasses on, whilst not obvious to us, is now in fact deteriorated to the point it qualifies for surgery, thus opening up an opportunity to discuss with an eye surgeon. At the first consultation appointment, we were offered squint correction surgery which her consultant believed would align her eyes with the glasses on, and vastly improve her binocular vision and squint also with the glasses off.

He explained that her eyes are struggling to work together, has no 3D vision, and as she is young, her eyes are still developing and therefore able to cope, over work and adjust, up until the age of seven or eight when the eyes development period is complete.

Therefore, now is the time that we may be able to make improvements to her binocular vision – the way her eyes work together – and improve both her eye appearance and function, before that window of opportunity closes for good.

Free stock photo of black-and-white, fashion, person, woman

Signing a surgical consent form as a parent is not easy. We realise in the grand scheme of things that this is a minor operation, and many parents before us will have had to signed on the line for far scarier procedures with more major consequences. That said, when a member of the medical profession has just read the long list of risks and possible side effects of an impending surgery under general anaesthetic, it takes a steady hand to put your scribble on that paperwork.

We’ve been here before – when the Mouse had a lump removed from her tiny earlobe under a general anaesthetic at age one. Again, a simple procedure, but one that undoubtedly put everyone through a great amount of distress. he of course bounced back almost immediately, and on getting the all clear that the lump was benign, we were incredibly relieved and glad we had eliminated any questions of the nature of the mass by surgery.

For this particular procedure, to tighten or shorten Tig’s eye muscles, there are many worries and concerns for us as her parents. Could her vision be permanently damaged? Double vision is a realistic side effect but in children, they can usually correct this in a short time by adjusting their focus. Could her squint worsen – with or without glasses, perhaps making the squint worse – turning her eyes out or in more? Will there be very little benefit at all, therefore putting her through a painful and stressful experience for little gain? The eyes are a very delicate and complex organ which like many of us, I cringe at the thought of being touched, and the very thought of them being damaged is just beyond imaginable.

Closeup Photo of Human Eye

Aside from the squint, Tig’s glasses prescription and vision need to be also weighed into the equation. Her glasses currently straighten her eyes and so post surgery, will need to be adjusted. The immediate result will not be the long term result and we will need to wait and see how her eyes heal and the muscle reattaches. The prescription will then be adjusted to straighten the eyes from their new baseline, and hopefully, reducing the weight of her heavy and strong lens prescription from its current state.

Nonetheless, the consultant has been reassuring that whilst this surgery is optional, it is in his experienced opinion, strongly reccommended. It is also, in his field, a routine procedure that will be over very quickly. Sometimes, all we can do as a parent, is trust in those who know more than us, and when it comes to Opthalmology, that’s basically anyone who has any knowledge in this incredibly technical and confusing field.

Close-up Portrait of Human Eye

There are no doubts that as we set off this week to take Tigs into the unknown, our hearts will all be in our mouths. We are showing a positive and brave face for her, as we realise that she isn’t always the bravest patient herself! Toys and treats at the ready, we’ve sold it to her based on the time off school and being made a fuss over. But ultimately, as her mother, I’m thinking ahead to Tig’s of the future, and believing that this is the decision she would want me to make for her on her behalf.

x MMT

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13 thoughts on “Staring surgery in the eye: Consenting to squint correction surgery in our six year old

  1. Wendy Reply

    Oh it’s so scary as a parent to go through something like this. Neither of my boys have had surgery but Alex was in hospital so many times as a baby and I had to agree to all sorts of tests and things being done to him and it isn’t nice but you just have to remember that it’s for the best. Also, I have a squint and it did give me confidence issues as I grew up. I did have the surgery when I was five and it helped the appearance but it’s still obviously a lazy eye. I’m glad my parents agreed for me to have it though as I know those confidence issues would have been a lot worse if it was left as bad as it was. I hope it all goes well for Tigs and it sounds like the surgeon is really optimistic that it’s going to all work out.xx

    1. MMT Reply

      Thanks so much Wendy…it’s really reassuring to hear that from someone whose been through it xx

  2. Louise Reply

    Waiting for your child to have surgery, whatever the procedure, is scary. Jessica also had a squint and surgery would have been recommended for her but because she was more complex anyway, I wasn’t willing for her to undergo it unless absolutely necessary (or unless she wanted to when she was able to make the decision for herself). Wishing you and Tigs all the best of luck with her eye surgery and hope that all goes well. My husband had a similar procedure as a child – he still doesn’t have 3D vision but he has good eyesight and doesn’t need to wear glasses. He does still have a bit of a squint but it only comes back when he is tired so the surgery worked well for him. Hopefully it will work even better for Tigs. Sending big hugs your way and will be keeping you in my thoughts xx #coolmumclub

  3. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Do you know I literally never noticed this in her but I am so pleased everything went well in the end and she is recovering nicely. Must have been quite a tense time for you all so I bet you’re really pleased she is in recovery now sending lots of get well soon #coolmumclub vibes to your little trooper xoxo

  4. rosiedoal Reply

    Wow what a scary thing for any parent to go through. I hope it all works out well x

  5. craftcartwright Reply

    I hope it all goes well #coolmumclub

  6. viewfromthebeachchair Reply

    Sounds like you have all your facts and are going to have success! Prayers for a fast healing! #coolmumclub

  7. theeasterneater Reply

    I underwent squint surgery myself when I was six back in 19-a-long-time-ago and it was the best thing my parents could have done for me. My eye still wanders when I’m tired but outside of that no-one notices. I use glasses again now because I’m over 40 and all that jazz but aesthetically and functionally, the surgery was the right decision. Incidentally my little boy, 4 and a half, also has a deep squint in one eye and has been wearing glasses for nearly a year now. He won’t take to the patches though and it’s quite tricky to push it as he’s autistic but we will be going for surgery when he turns six, even if that means going private and remortgaging. You’ve made the right decision, mama 😉 #coolmumclub

  8. Joana at Mind The Mummy Reply

    Second try… I had just written a really long comment, sigh… So basically I had the same surgery done when I was six, donkeys ago, and it was the best my parents could have done for me, both functionally and aesthetically. I wear glasses to work nowadays because I’m over 40 and all that jazz, but unless I’m tired and my eye wanders a bit, no one knows I once had a deep squint. Incidentally my 4 year-old little boy also has one and has been wearing glasses for nearly a year. We have not had any luck with patches and he really doesn’t take to them and he’s autistic so we have little room to push. We will be getting the surgery when he turns six even if it means going private and remortgaging. You have made the right decision, mama, even if we’re all petrified of putting our babies through it. It will be amazing for your daughter, believe me. xxx #coolmumclub

  9. The Queen of Collage Reply

    Surgery is such a worry whatever the age of the child. I can recall my eldest having surgery as her finger had been trapped in the kitchen door. I felt sick about it. #coolmumclub

  10. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... Reply

    Big decision. My sister was born with a squint which thankfully was cured with external treatments. I have considered laser eye surgery to get rid of my short sightedness but am too scared #coolmumclub

  11. crummymummy1 Reply

    Sending positive vibes & I hope it all goes well! Looking forward to reading the update! #coolmumclub

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