In the last few months Mikare’s vision has become more… pronounced? He’s able to see more, he’s LOOKING at more. Before he was quite… disengaged? Is that the word? It was as if he was using his ears to ‘see’ rather than eyes. It was hard to tell what he’d react to, because he doesn’t stare really. It’s hard to tell if he’s focusing or not. His head is constantly moving, so there’s no prolonged looking in one direction. But small things would give it away, like Mikaere wasn’t really able to see you unless you were right next to him.
We did lots to help his vision – namely large black and white cards were up everywhere – in his crib, by his changing matt, in the buggy. I’d put “CVI” into the search box on youtube on an iPad and put it in his crib (I liked this one best). We’d hang black and white toys from a microphone stand to dangle above his head. We move objects with lights or bright colours slowly into his field of vision and across to the other side in the hope he’ll track. We even got referred to the local Vision Support team, who started working with Mikaere every two weeks.
I can’t say for sure any of that helped – for a long time it felt like we were doing the same things over and over with little to no progress. The problem is that we didn’t know what Mikaere could and couldn’t see. We knew from the eye test that there is nothing wrong with his eyes. We knew Mikaere could see some things, but what? We don’t know. If we don’t have a baseline, how do we know it’s improving? Do we keep going? Do we stop? Does it make any difference at all?
And then we had a period with little to no seizures, no illness and something shifted slightly. It wasn’t a sudden change, it was gradual thing, like noticing Mikaere turn his head if someone moved down the other end of the room. He might point his head at an object, turn away and then batt at the exact right position with his hand.
Our therapists (who had the benefit of distance) started commenting how much aware he seemed. He began doing things like opening his mouth in anticipation of food, or turning his head when he didn’t want to eat what we were offering. Turning his head much more. He’d cry and stop when we approached him. Small things.
We’re still not clear what he can see, and Mikaere doesn’t stare, or track the same way we do. He won’t look and reach at an object at the same time, but there is some visual mapping happening.
We still don’t know what he can or can’t see, but there’s a definite improvement, and that’s something.