The kiddo went back to the eye doctor, who saw some signs of improvement, meaning we won't be going under the knife just yet. Hooray. Now we have to keep patching him for three more months. Sigh.
After three months of patch/rip patch/rip until we've gone through five or six a day -- and he's only supposed to wear them for two hours! -- I was not especially looking forward to another three months of it. And then the doctor suggested something so simple, yet effective, that I'm smacking my forehead for not thinking of it first.Mittens.
So every morning I patch him up, feed him breakfast and stick his mittens on. They're Velcroed shut, so he can't get them off, and with them on he can't pull the patch off either. Sure, he looks like a climate-confused pirate -- am I outside or inside? -- but so far we've only been using one patch a day so who cares. We'll see how this goes.
In the meantime, as though I needed any more reasons to be neurotic, a Mayo Clinic study recently found that kids with exotropia, eyes that point outward, have a noticeably increased risk of mental illness in early adulthood. Esotropia, eyes that point inward, not so much. Guess which one my kid is. They say it might be a genetic link, and don't recommend doing anything about it except being aware of the situation. So I guess if he becomes bipolar in college, we can say, "Oh right! His eyes! So that's why!" Which will undoubtedly be a huge help, because hindsight, after all, is 20/20.
Actually after three months of (more or less) wearing the patches, his eye, when it does turn at all, turns inward. I wonder if that breaks the curse.
To poke a few holes, because that's what I do, it is possible that one thing has nothing to do with the other. It's also possible that treatment of strabismus and ambylopia has changed from when the now-adults profiled in the study were kids. And since I apparently can't see the whole study without subscribing to Pediatrics magazine, I don't know at what age these kids were diagnosed with strabismus, how many of them had surgery or what exact kinds of mental illness we're talking about here. Ah, nuance.
I think for now I'll just file this information away in the back of my head, in the big cardboard box titled "Things to worry about later maybe." Right there with how we're paying for his college education and how I should react when I meet his first girlfriend. For now I'll stick to worrying about which new toys are on the "recalled on account of being fatal" list. You know. The usual.