Saturday, March 2, 2013


Max can't see. Well, at least not very well. He's been several times to see his ophthalmologist (quoted here in detail on the National Down Syndrome Society website), but it wasn't until his most recent visit that I thought to ask what his vision actually is. Being a distractable toddler without speech (yet) calculations are only approximate, but even so, I was shocked by the news. The vision in Max's right eye measures at 20/130. This is considered low vision. His left eye is worse, measuring at 20/190, ten points from legal blindness.

Vision problems are common in Down syndrome. Among the most common are strabismus, or crossing of the eyes. Max doesn't appear to have this. Another common problem is difficulty controlling focus up close. Max does have this, which is why his ophthalmologist recommends bifocals when he begins preschool in November. For now, however, he has a sharp-looking pair of  strong, single-focus lenses.

Max constantly amazes us. We knew he couldn't see well, but he is so resilient it was often difficult to tell. He could point to specific images on the page of a book and pick up a small cracker that had fallen onto a patterned rug. But if someone came into the room without speaking, Max wouldn't react. He needed to hear a person's voice to know who they were. But now, his eyes light up from across the room when we enter. He pours over books, analyzing the details he was once unable to see. For the first few days he fell down quite a lot, spending too much time taking in his surroundings, paying little attention to where his feet were taking him. Now, however, he is a pro.

Here are a few of my favorite new-glasses shots:


  1. This is so great! And I loved watching him feed himself.

  2. Does Max ever try to take them off?

    1. Sometimes. For the first few days it was almost constant, but he quickly realized that seeing is way better than not wearing the glasses. Now it really only happens when he's mad because we said "No!" A misguided attempt to punish us for discipline, I guess.