If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Mason has had glasses for a little over a month now, but I thought I'd do a little post on it here anyway to really document the experience.
So back in October when we did the initial intake evaluation to transition Mason to the school district, they did a test on his hearing and his vision. He passed the hearing test, but the vision test came back saying "refer". They said this meant that he didn't pass, but it also didn't mean that he failed either. I was confused. They said, their technology is good, but it couldn't get an accurate reading to say that he passed, so they recommend that he see an ophthalmologist. Simple enough.
Only problem is, we don't have vision insurance for Mason. I never even thought that he would need glasses, so I never even thought to add him on to our plan (side note: we don't have dental insurance for him either, though he has been to the dentist. It was cheaper to pay out of pocket the two times a year he goes rather than adding him on and paying monthly -- something to check in to if your child needs to start going to the dentist). So, I called our pediatrician and dropped off the "refer" paperwork and asked her to put it through to our regular medical insurance (which we do have for Mason). She had no problem with this and I got a referral letter in the mail a week or so later. I made the appointment for Tuesday, December 6, 2016 (also the same day he started his new speech class -- more on that tomorrow).
Normally I like Seth to come to appointments with me, especially since this appointment was going to be around two hours and involved getting Mason's eyes dilated. I definitely envisioned it going as well as the dentist (which involves holding him down) and I was worried I couldn't do it alone. Unfortunately for me, Seth had important meetings at work all day so I was on my own.
December 6th - getting fitted for glasses
We arrived at the appointment and only had to wait a few minutes before getting called back. We waited in the room for a few minutes before the doctor came in and Mason seemed to be pretty calm. I asked him if he wanted to sit in the big boy chair and he said no, so I left it alone. The doctor came in, asked us a few questions, Mason sat on my lap in the chair and read some letters on the screen in front of us, and then she dilated his eyes. She warned me that the drops would b-u-r-n a little (which I know from my own experience) and I was prepared for the worst. Mason cried a little and moved a little, but she was able to get the drops in his eyes the first time. We went to the waiting room to wait the 45 minutes that it takes for his eyes to dilate. She told me to check his eyes after about 10-15 minutes because I should see some dilation going on, and I did, though it was hard since he has brown eyes, but it seemed to be working. We played with some puzzles that they had, a magnetic board, watched Finding Nemo, and read some books and then after 45 minutes, we went back in to the room for the rest of the exam.
December 19th - picking up the glasses
The doctor looked into Mason's eyes with her light and he was very cooperative during the whole thing. He looked up when she told him to look up and he looked to the side when she told him to look to the side. She then tried to put those funny glasses on him so she could test his vision and see what his prescription would be, but he wanted none of that. She was totally fine with it. She tried to hold up the little glass pieces in front of his eyes to see which one helped him see better and he did it to some extent. We tried to cover one eye with a eye patch stick thing and he did it a little but then didn't like his eye being covered. Overall, I didn't think he was being too cooperative, but she was able to get all the information she needed and didn't seem to think it was a problem, so I was totally happy. She gave us the prescription, they told us to come back in a year for a check up, and she gave us a recommendation of a good glasses place that is used to dealing with kids and we were off.
December 23rd - first day of wearing glasses!
December 23rd - making cookies for Santa
December 24th - Christmas Eve
The lady at the glasses place was AMAZING. So, SO amazing. She was so patient with Mason. He was actually really into it also, which I was surprised about. I wasn't sure how he'd act because in the past he has HATED sunglasses on his face and rips them off in 3 seconds, so I didn't have high hopes. I actually didn't tell her that he has autism because I really don't think that defines him, so I rarely, if ever, bring it up unless it's at the doctor's office or something (I did tell the eye doctor and I have told the dentist in the past).
He was absolutely obsessed with checking himself out in the mirror! She had one of those mirrors on a little stand so you could see how you looked in the glasses and he could have stared at himself all day. She pulled a few different options for him to try on and I narrowed it down to a few that I liked. I actually really liked one particular one but they weren't as durable, so I went with the others ones, per her recommendation, that looked very similar but were much more bendy and durable for a four year old. They are ever so slightly too big for his face right now, but the other ones looked ever so slightly too small and she said she'd rather have us get more use out of them and have him grow in to them and possibly not need new ones next year after his next check up versus for sure needing them because she knew the others would be too small. And boy was I was ever so appreciative that she tried to save me some money!
December 26th - shopping, a movie, and ice skating
December 26th - Hanukkah
So, we chose the glasses and ordered them and paid for them and then were supposed to go back in a week or so to pick them up. A week or so went by and I didn't hear anything and so I called to check and unfortunately the glasses lady had had a family emergency and was closed for a few days. We made an appointment to go back on Tuesday, December 20th to pick up his glasses. She said he wouldn't be able to tell her if they fit funny or felt weird so she'd do all the adjusting before hand (she does this for all the kids) and they were perfect when we went to get them. He put them on, she did a little adjusting to make sure they sat on his nose correctly, and then we were ready!
I asked when she suggested that we start him with the glasses and mentioned that he would be at school with a bunch of other kids for the next couple days and then would be off for a small winter break. I asked if it would be better to wait until the weekend to start them since he most likely would "fight back" and take them off a bunch and we would need to watch him. Plus, with all the Christmas weekend festivities, I thought he would be busy and distracted and maybe wouldn't notice the glasses as much (she recommended we let him do a preferred activity or something to distract him for the first few hours). She said yes. She also recommended that he not wear them in the car the first day as well because it could make him dizzy.
We actually ended up starting the glasses on Friday, December 23rd when we dropped him off at ABA because his therapist said she would watch him. Plus, he'd be distracted. So, that's what we did! He did great the first day, only tried to take them off a few times, but was very cooperative when asked to put them back on.
Same with the next couple days (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). We had everyone on Glasses Watch 2016 and his big cousins did a great job telling us if he took them off. Good thing also was... when he'd take them off, he'd either fold them nicely and place them on the counter or fold them and bring them to us. Of course we made him put them back on, but at least he was treating them well.
January 8th - helping me take Stitch Fix photos
January 19th - before speech class
January 27th - taking his glasses in for an adjustment
Fast forward to today and he's been doing GREAT! He wears them without problems about 85-90% of the time and we have to remind him not to play with them or to put them back on the other 10-15% of the time. Overall, I've been VERY happy with him! They get insanely dirty super fast, they have some small scratches, but overall, he's been treating them well. I'd say mostly it's just normal wear and tear. There was one day at school when he was really bothered by them and was pulling on them a lot so the teachers put the glasses in their "sleeping bag" (glasses case), but I was able to get him to put them on easily when I picked him up. Then there was the day that he tried to pull one of the curly q's off that keep them around his ears, but it was easy to put back on. He also got one nose pad replaced the other day when we brought them in for an adjustment.
But, overall, like I said, he's adjusted REALLY well and is doing great! I'm so glad we had that assessment that told us that he needed to see an ophthalmologist and that we found out early. I definitely think he can see better now with the glasses. And, I know I might be a little bias, but I think he looks mighty cute in his glasses too :)
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 -- Mason's new speech class!