Earlier this month, we were introduced to the website of a prominent pediatric optometrist, Dr. Bill Takeshita (drbillfoundation.org). Through this site, we learned for the first time about the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists. Lukas has been seeing an ophthalmologist since he was 4 months old, but had never seen an optometrist until a few days ago. Little did we know, it would have been best if Lukas had been visiting an optometrist regularly from about 6 months of age. There are fundamental differences between ophthalmologists and optometrists. Essentially, ophthalmologists focus on the medical and surgical treatment of the eyes, while optometrists focus more on vision therapy and prescribing glasses. You can read more about the differences between the two at: drbillfoundation.org/Main/EyeCareProfessionals.
Prior to visiting Dr. Bill Takeshita’s website, we were unaware of the differences between the two types of vision professionals and completely unaware of how an optometrist could be helpful to Lukas. We knew that his vision problems stem from his brain injury and we assumed that, if glasses could be helpful to him, someone along the way would have mentioned it. After our first appointment with an optometrist, we learned that Lukas, in addition to his CVI, also has astigmatism and appears to be far-sighted! Both of these conditions can be helped by glasses, so we will likely be getting him fitted for glasses soon. (How adorable is he going to be?!)
Though this is not directly related to CVI, we wanted to highlight this issue because we know many parents, like us, simply don’t know how valuable it can be to take their child to an optometrist. Though glasses cannot help CVI, they CAN help other ocular conditions which may be adding to CVI and making it even harder for your child to see. We are frustrated that it took us this long to gain that knowledge, but we are hopeful that we can help others to learn about it sooner and we are very excited to see how Little Bear’s vision may improve with his new glasses!