Child experiences with lazy eye/squint treatment
This section is only here because brave, young lazy eye/squint
patients have been willing to share their stories with you.
Please click on any of the following names to read about their experiences...
9 year old Tara's Story
9 year old Caitlin's Story and her Mum's
14 year old Oliver's Story
13 year old Paige's Story
14 year old Lauren's Story
• • •
"Hello my name is Tara and I have had 2 operations - one on each of my eyes. One was at Ipswich and my most recent operation was at Bury St Edmunds hospital. My first operation was a success, but you all want to know about my operation on my left eye, so I will tell you.
As I am 9 years old people think that it is early for me to have had 2 operations, but all of my doctors wanted to do it early so it wouldn't get any worse. When I was told I was going to have another operation on my eye I was a bit more relaxed because I had an idea of what was going to happen. The day of the operation had finely arrived so I collected all my stuff from home and set off to Bury hospital. It was a little bit scary at first because I had been told that he was going to be putting a permanent lenses into my eye instead of another contact lense. First they put this cream on my hand to make it go num and to make it show all of the good veins so that they could stick in the little tube. After they had done a couple of tests it was time for me to have my operation so I walked into the operating theatre and jumped on the bed with my dressing gown on then they took the cream off and rubbed it away and then they put the tube into the back of my hand. It hurt a little like I was having a blood test. When I was in the operating room I saw my lovely nurse called Rachel and she always looks after me. The doctor that was doing my op was Mr Vivian. Once they had put the tube in, they put in a medicine, but it wasn't the medicine that took me to sleep so they put that in, but I didn't feel a thing, but then the dreaded moment came the medicine that took me to sleep, the doctor said that it would tingle a bit and it did, but after that I was asleep.
As soon as I woke up I felt really dizzy and I was quite thirsty, but after I had a drink my throat started to hurt, but it was only because they had put a tube down my throat to help me breath better. My eye did start to hurt quite badly because of the stitches, but after a day he took them out. When my eye was a bit better I was able to go home in my pyjamas. Thank you for reading my story, from Tara."
"I cannot really remember not being able to see things properly. But I want to tell you about my operation. The eye clinic is behind the big hospital and the rooms are small with pictures on the wall of Eeyore (Mummy loves Eeyore - so she likes to come into the room with me).
You see someone called an orthroptist - she measures your eyes and gets you to read from a board. You also have to play games and touch her nose (I think she cannot remember where it is - because you do that every time) they ask you questions, like who is at the end of my stick? At the end of your time with her, your eyes feel tired, but they soon wake up again! If you are really brave and behave - you may get a treat!
The people are really nice, if you have to see Mr. Vivian or Sister Rachel. You wait on chairs in a long corridor, but they only keep you waiting about 10 minutes. Mr. Vivian opens his door and makes you laugh, because he peeks round the door and says “nnneeexxxxttttttttttttttt” in a funny voice. His chair is big and he talks a lot to Mummy and Daddy. It can be scary to think about having an operation, but I’ve had two now - so you have to be very brave. Especially if Mummy is worried!
The day before my operation, I was not allowed to have anything to eat from midnight. So Mummy and Daddy let me choose what special meal we would all eat the night before and we invited Grandma and Pops over for tea.
Everyone takes your mind off waiting. Once you are in bed the time goes very quickly. You have to remember not to eat breakfast - so Mummy and Daddy do not eat either. You drive to the hospital in your pyjamas and I took “Toby” the dog with me - he is my favourite cuddly. They put special cream on your hands - so you do not feel the needle and you play with the toys until they call your name. When they call your name you walk into the theatre and it is really cold.
There is another funny man in there called an anesthetist he puts a clip on your finger which is attached to a “sweetiometer” and when it beeps it lets Mummy and Daddy know how many sweets to buy you when you wake up.
After the sweetiometer, the nurse puts cold liquid into your hand, from a big syringe - but you don’t feel it because of the special cream and also you keep looking at Mummy or Daddy. Sometimes it can feel very cold, but you fall asleep very quickly.
When you wake up your eyes feel a little sore and I did cry a little. My eyes felt like I had sand in them. But they take you back to Mummy on the ward very quickly.
Once you have had lunch and a drink and gone to the toilet you are allowed home. If you are really brave you get a certificate from the nurses.
You have to have a week off school and in only three days you feel better.
You have to have a two-week check-up and a three-month check-up at the hospital.
Good luck - Be brave."
"If you have ever had to go into hospital as an adult - then your child’s experiences will leave you feeling somewhat jealous!
They are so well looked after and made a fuss of and when the whole experience is over - you will come away feeling sad that you will not be seeing Sister Rachel and Mr. Vivian so frequently. They are so great with the children - which shows when you visit them.
To a child having an operation is daunting - how can you alleviate your child’s fears and questions - when you too are worried?
The building is fantastic (we started our hospital experience - in the old eye clinic at West Suffolk). Everyone was so excited about moving into the new clinic and with good reason too - it is modern, light and airy - obviously purpose built (which is always a bonus!) There is a lovely play area - to keep them amused, this really helps to keep their minds off of where they are and why.
We have never had to wait too long! The orthroptist takes you through to their office (you do not see the consultant at every visit - really only when a decision for an operation is going to be made). Their offices are quite small, but as they are always hands on and needing to be quite close to your child - this never seems to be a problem (unless both parents go along!!)
On the day of the operation - we always choose to not have breakfast - to make it more fair for our daughter…boy can it seem like an age!
The operation list is done by age - so the youngest go first (i.e. for us breakfast becomes lunch!!!)
That is hard, because as your child sees people go off - they become more nervous. The nurse will put their nametags on and the special anesthetic cream on their hands. And it is one parent who is allowed to go into the theatre area. You then stay with your child until they are asleep. When you go into the theatre - if you have never experienced it before - then it all seems very frightening (remember then how your child is feeling!!!) The best thing you can do is keep your child distracted and keep talking to them - try and be jolly and smiley (Mums you can burst into tears - after they are asleep, don’t forget the tissue!!!)
Personally I think the children are very resilient to the whole experience - the worse part we found is the administering of the anesthetic - the tube is very large and there is a lot of liquid to go into a small vein. Our daughter did not like this part, because it was VERY cold and stung. Just keep thinking though that at this stage they are going to be asleep in about one or two minutes - sometimes even less. So if they get upset - keep calm!!!
Once they are asleep - you go back to the ward area. Where the nurses make you a cup of tea. And you wait (usually by watching the second hand on the clock!!!) for about an hour.
For our daughter - she was very tearful after the operation. This is hard, because they need to stay calm and not cry. But they usually complain that they have sand in their eyes. Most of the time they go back to sleep. Once they have eaten and gone to the toilet - you can take them home. The whole day has lasted for about 7-8 hours. But remember only an hour of that is when they are out of your sight, but in very good hands!!!"
"When I was eight I started to get really bad headaches and my eyes were extremely tired all the time. My mum took me to the GP, and we found out that on I had a divergent squint. We went to see the consultant - Mr Vivian - who would operate to correct it and everyone was really friendly. It didn't even occur to me that something might go wrong in the op until I was about to go in because everyone seemed calm and confident and made sure that I knew that I would fall asleep after the injection and so on.
However, at this point I became scared, but my mum reassured me as she gave me a piggyback into theatre with a favourite teddy (I suspect this was speedily removed as soon as I fell asleep!).
When I woke up I felt a bit fuzzy but was taken through to my family straight away so when I was more aware there were familiar people around. Later that day I was sent home with some eye drops for an infection, this cleared up in about a week. I assume I was a bit sore but it can't have been bad because I don't remember it, I just enjoyed being made a fuss of! It wasn't long before I
was back at school; the operation was a complete success, the squint, headaches and tiredness disappeared and there were no ill effects at all.
I was told there was a possibility I might need a second operation by the time I reached sixteen. I am glad it has not been necessary, but I don't think I would be too worried by the prospect of another as my experiences have been so positive. Now I am sixteen and my eyes are still fine, in fact, I recently scored 100/100 for the England target rifle shooting 'B' team and have since been promoted to the 'A' team! I have nothing but praise and thanks for Mr Vivian and his team; I will always be grateful to
them for making this possible.
Good luck with your future work and thank you."
Brooke had an operation for a droopy eyelid (ptosis), this is what it was like for her:
"When i got out of bed at home i was a bit happy and a bit nervous. When i got in the car i was happy, then we came to the car park there was only 6 cars there. When we got into the hospital i saw Ieva, (my friend) Then i went to the operation room my mum was with me. I went to sleep i was happy in my dreams, i saw father Christmas at the end of my bed in Lapland on my holiday. When i got up i was dizzy and it took me a long time to wake up, i was still with my teddy he had a mask on my Mum and Dad were waiting for me then i had some food. I had sausages and a biscuit and a drink of water. I had a patch on my eye i was happy about my operation then i went home my Sister / Nannie and Grandad was at home waiting for me. Thank you Mr Vivian and nurses for helping me Love Brooke xxxxxx"
My name is Oliver Cansdale, I had squint surgery carried out in March 2007.
However, I also had it when i was a young boy aged 3. Now I am 14, and was
much more aware and concerned about having the operation as I could not
remember the procedures from when I was young and found it all a bit
Before the operation I was very nervous about having the surgery but all the
nursing staff and doctors did everything they could to put me at ease.
After having the surgery I realise now that it was nothing really to worry
about and I was home after about half, a day. When I look at my eyes now I
realise what a difference it has made to my looks.
Thank you Mr Vivian, Rachel, and all of the team that looked after me
before, during and after the operation.
"My name is Paige and I am 13 years of age. Last year I received squint surgery. Prior to the operation I was having trouble controlling my vision and it was giving me headaches. After several appointments with the friendly ophthalmic team I was referred to Mr Vivian. The friendly staff gave me lots of advice and Mr Vivian even drew me a picture to help me understand the procedure.
I was nervous a week before the operation, but I kept myself busy in order to distract myself. The most difficult part was not being allowed any thing to eat and drink the night and morning before.
On the day of the surgery my mum gave me this cute cuddly pig for support, because I collect pigs. On arriving we spoke to an anaesthetist and then they got me into my theatre gown - I also wore slippers. Next I went into theatre and laid on the bed, my legs were shaking like mad. My mum was with me as they administered the anaesthetics. I fell asleep before I even knew what was happening, and I didn't even feel anything. The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room with the nurses I felt really spaced out and my eyes felt as though I had grit in them.
Then I went into the day ward where my mum was waiting. The eye clinic team were really friendly and I have a lot of confidence in Mr Vivian as I am having another operation in August.
I was a couple of hours in the ward - my eyes looked very sore for a few days. My mum was slightly concerned about this but the hospital quickly reassured us it was nothing to worry about."
"My name is Lauren, I'm 14 years old and I used to have a squint in my right eye. My eye turned in - so it looked like I was looking
at my nose all the time. How I got my squint is, as far as I know, very different to most people.
My squint is the result of a car crash, I was 8 years old and suffered a bang to the left side of my forehead.
For just under 5 years of my life I have relied on my glasses to correct my squint, but 2 months before my
operation I got rid of them as I didn't need them any more.
I met Mr. Vivian at Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge. He seemed very confident in sorting out my squint. 2 months
after I met him at Addenbrookes, I got a referral to go and see him at the West Suffolk hospital eye clinic. A few days later I
was in again, but this time for the operation. The night before I had a big dinner and then had nothing to eat or drink as it's
dangerous. Being 14 meant I was the oldest out of the three children so I was last.
I was able to walk to the theatre, or to where the bed was anyway, and I laid down and was talking to everybody about food because I was really hungry.I didn't get to finish my sentence about cheese burgers!
The next thing I knew someone was saying my name and I could hear my mum trying to talk to me. I began to wonder why I couldn't open my eyes and then I remembered where I was. I felt like I'd been hit round the head with my P.E teachers metal baseball bat! As I got used to the discomfort of completely opening my eyes, Ii worked out if I opened them so they were only partly open I could see and not cause myself to much pain. I felt very hungry and thirsty, my mum had to feed me my sandwich bit by bit, and I drank out of a straw. After about half an hour i could open my eyes fully but I still felt extremely tired and really car sick. I kept falling to sleep when I wasn't meant to.
I got to go home a few hours later and then slept from two until half past six and then went back to bed at half eight and slept until half ten the next morning. I had to have drops put in my eyes three times a day for two weeks. For the first three to four days, you can't open your eyes when you wake up in the morning. It's like having your eyes stuck together with really heavy sleep that you're not allowed to touch. I wasn't allowed to go swimming for three weeks or wash my face in the bath.
Two weeks later my eyes are noticeably straight and look gorgeous! The red has faded into a bearly noticable pink and the stitches dissolved without me knowing or feeling it. My friends love my eyes but I think that my right eye is too far out. But my Mum and my Auntie Donna told me that it was just me because I've been so used to that eye always turning in.
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