Friday, November 28, 2008

The cataract

Just about a month ago, we discovered that Landon has cataracts.  In both eyes.  The one in his right eye covers about 80% of the lens, completely obstructing his vision.  The one in his left eye is miniscule and is not hindering his vision - but we have to keep a check on it.

Click here to see Wikipedia's definition of the lens and a diagram of the eye.

Because the cataract is obstructing his vision, the lens has to be removed.  In order for him to be able to see, they will put an implant in his eye to replace the lens.  If all this doesn't take place soon, Landon will lose use of that eye.  Right now, the surgery is scheduled for the second week in December.  

In addition to the cataract surgery, Landon will also have ear tubes put in.  Now here is my question about this...the doctors have not been able to see the eardrum in his left how are they going to put the tube in?  The doc said, "it can be tricky."  Not quite reassuring and we know other that have had to try several times.  The problem is that Landon has teeny tiny ear canals, which is a common trait of children with Down syndrom.  Well, we'll see how it goes!  

Back to the cataracts...I encourage those of you with infants, whether they have Down syndrome or not, to keep a check on the eyes.  I think it is a routine screen for well visits, but, as in our situation, it can be missed.  According to the doctor, if you live old enough, you'll eventually get a cataract, so they are just a part of life.  The problem they present in children is that if vision is obstructed long enough in the eye, the brain begins to ignore the signals from that eye and it will become useless.  

Here is the picture I took that made me think something wasn't right:

If you click on the picture you can see a larger image and notice the grayness of the right eye.  Cloudiness of the eye can mean many things, and fortunately for Landon, the cataract is one of the least serious.   Vision problems are more frequent in children with Down syndrome, however it is not exclusive so any child could be susceptible.

We'll let you know how everything goes after the surgery.  At some point, Landon will also have to wear glasses, just like big sister McKayla!

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