Friday, November 30, 2007

Elisabeth's Eye Exam

Well, we are home from Spokane with some new information about Elisabeth. She appears to have cortical blindness. This is visual impairment due to damage to the brain. Her eyes are actaully perfect, but the visual systems of the brain cannot interpret what the eye sees. As of right now her vision is 20/2000. The good news is that she is not completely blind, she can see colors, and her vision could improve some over time (especially if the stem cells help repair damage to the brain).
But for now she will continue having eye exams every 2 months to monitor how she is doing.

Here are some facts about cortical blindness or CVI as it is also called:
-Vision appears to be variable: sometimes on, sometimes off; changing minute by minute, day by day.
-Many children with CVI may be able to use their peripheral vision more effectively than their central vision.
-One third of children with CVI are photophobic, others are compulsive light gazers.
-Color vision is generally preserved in children with CVI (color perception is represented bilaterally in the brain, and is less susceptible to complete elimination).
-The vision of children with CVI has been described much like looking through a piece of Swiss cheese.
-Children may exhibit poor depth perception, influencing their ability to reach for a target.
-Vision may be better when either the visual target or the child is moving.

-Spatial confusion is common; for example being unable to locate their chair even though they can see it.
-Seeing with CVI can be compared with trying to listen to one voice in a noisy room or to speaking a foreign language.

So that's a little on her condition. Elisabeth will have her challenges, but we feel so blessed to be able to take care of her and love her. I am so thankful for my musical background so that even if Elisabeth has trouble with vision I have something to offer her that will enrich her life (Her right ear is failing hearing tests, but her left ear is perfect!).
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