Intermittent Strabismus :: Emory's Eyes

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge."
- Psalm 62:5-8

I realized I had not mentioned anything about Emory's eyes on the blog - I kind of kept up with it on Instagram but never with much detail.  Most people upon seeing Emory's glasses just assumed she had bad vision, so I wanted to explain what we ventured through with her eyes over the past several months... to keep record but also to help anyone else out there whose child might be experiencing the same symptoms.

In mid November we started noticing that Emory would look at us, or look and point at objects, with one eye - kind of turn her head to the side and give us what I like to call a "chicken eye"...see post HERE for a visual ;).  She is such a sassy little lady that at first we just assumed she was doing this to be funny or throw an attitude...that it was behavioral.  My mom even noticed it and asked me about it.  Then one day Emory and I were talking at close quarters and she crossed one of her eyes and then kind of laughed.  I laughed too because I can purposely cross one eye and not the other so I thought she had just "inherited" that creepy gene.  She did it one more time and I told her that wasn't something she needs to do on purpose because it's not good for your eyes.  End of discussion.

However, over the next two weeks I saw that same right eye drift inwards a few times when she was sitting at the bar eating and talking to me or focusing on something up close or just when our faces were in close proximity while talking.  I immediately made an appointment with an eye doctor friend.  He did some preliminary testing and then referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist...actually the same eye doctor my sister saw when she was little.  After her appointment and some eye chart tests as well as dilating and testing, her doctor said she had intermittent strabismus.

Most would like to say that this is "lazy eye" but in actuality her eye wasn't lazy.  Her eye never just drifted around when she was going about normal activities...it would just tend to cross a little {and eventually a lot} when focusing.  This was all so foreign to us, since even as adults Stephen and I both do not wear glasses, and as far back as we know it does not run in our families.  Emory's case was also strange because it presented itself all of a sudden at a little more advanced age {3 vs. infancy}.  Basically all children are farsighted to some degree at her age.  Their world is usually at their fingertips, arms length away, and thats about all they need to focus on.  As they mature their eyes mature as well and they are able to see better up close and far away.  Emory was tested as slightly farsighted but it was in the normal range of children her age and the doctor said if that was the only information he had she would not need glasses.  She could see the smallest pictures with both eyes.

However, Emory was for some reason trying to correct her farsightedness by using one eye to focus, therefore allowing the other to not try as hard resulting in it turning inward.  We were hoping the glasses would fix the problem - let the glasses do all the focusing for her so she could use both eyes and not cross one.  We tried it for a couple weeks and honestly I just noticed the crossing getting way worse once the glasses were taken off {eye would immediately cross whether she was focusing on something or not}, and then once we went back for a check up her eyes would still cross a little WITH the glasses on = not a good sign.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 
- Isaiah 41:10

We knew the next option would be surgery but we {the doctor and Stephen and I included} wanted to give her some time to see if the glasses would start to work.  We tried patching over the next couple weeks in order to strengthen the weakest eye prior to surgery.  We prayed and I believed without a shadow of a doubt that if it was God's will he would heal her without the surgery.  I prayed that daily, hourly at times.  My small group leader with BSF prayed with me and told me the most helpful and insightful thing during this waiting time - she said God chooses the route of healing that a) brings Him the most glory and b) teaches us the most.  And with that I just knew in my heart that He would choose surgery.  Some people have a hard time believing in the supernatural or divine aspect of healing.  I do not.  I pray it and feel it and believe that His hand works throughout all our lives in ways that we can never explain.  It was much harder for me to give up the control of this situation and hand my daughter over to the great unknown of scalpels and stitches and anesthesia.

"And we know that in all things God works 
for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose." 
- Romans 8:28

This ultimately ended up being the way God chose to heal Emory....and she is still healing.  After praying and realizing this was how she would be healed, I didn't really want to wait the next week or so the doctor wanted to schedule surgery.  I was ready and wanted it now!  But we waited as instructed and then scheduled her surgery for February 8th.  We didn't tell her {or her siblings} a word about it.  There really was no reason to give her three year old mind the freedom to distort concepts like "surgery" and "hospital" and "needles/anesthesia".

The morning of her surgery she was overjoyed as she always was when visiting "the docta house" - I think she really just felt special that it was something she and I got to do together and she was the center of attention ;).  She put on her "boooootiful blue and white dress" {hospital gown}, and walked HERSELF back with the nurses to go "help them blow up a big balloon" {mask for happy gas preceding anesthesia}.  It made me want to cry {and I did} and sort of broke my heart but it was the best way for it to be.  No clinging to momma and daddy, screaming to not make her go.  

The surgery itself lasted an hour and fifteen minutes.  During the surgery the doctor cut the muscles on the inner part of her eyes and moved them back to loosen them.  This was not done by a machine or a scope or anything like that - just a steady hand, a scalpel and some stitches. The worst part was waking up from anesthesia - 45 minutes of screaming.  She was not really "all there" and her eyes were blurry and there was an iv in her foot and she wasn't where she last remembered.  It was tough on everyone.  After she calmed down and rested for awhile, we went home that day.  She napped the afternoon and then went to bed early.  Besides the whites of her eyes being red on the inside corners, there were no other signs that she had surgery.

Today, as far as we can tell, her eyes are straight.  The doctor says she still has a slight tendency to cross a little when focusing, but its not every time and its not to the point that we can even notice it {he just noticed a couple times during his testing post op}.  Recovery really takes about six to eight weeks, and during that time she wears her glasses around the house, about half of the day.  The good news is when she takes them off her eyes don't cross and on a daily basis we watch her focus on things and we don't see them cross.  And she says joyfully all the time "my eyes not crossin anymore!"

Children are amazing in their resiliency and yes, God chose the path to healing that taught me the most and brought me closer to Him.  As an independent do-it-myself-er, I actually find the most comfort and freedom in knowing I don't have to be {and SHOULDN'T BE} in charge all the time.  Through this ordeal I was blessed with the most amazing gift of experiencing a "peace that passes all understanding" in the days and hours leading up to and during her surgery.

He promises abundant blessings for those who seek His face in every circumstance.  I know I've read it a million times but it is such a different thing when pride is swallowed, walls are let down, and we "walk the talk."  I praise him for my beautiful daughter and her tight little eye muscles that brought us {me} to this greater place of dependance on Him.

"Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, 
which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. 
And the God of peace will be with you." 
- Philippians 4:6-9


  1. So thankful it went so well......She is beautiful (with or without glasses)...and it is so VERY hard to not lean on our own understanding....Love ya'll, La

  2. Glad it went well! She will do great! My sister had strabismus...she was born with crossed eyes and had a couple surgeries to correct it when she was a baby and around Emory's age. She has done great ever since and wears no glasses! What a great story of trusting the Lord...thanks for sharing!


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