The Tragic Optimist

better but not perfect

Zoe had another eye appointment today, this time to follow-up on her new prescription. Unfortunately, while the doctor (and I) could see that the glasses were helping with her eyes, as the doctor said, it was only better, not perfect. As in all the other appointments, the doctor had Zoe look at a toy up close, and she would hold lenses up in front of Zoe’s glasses to see if the stronger prescription would straighten out her eyes. Unlike the other appointments, none of the lenses made any difference.

Zoes crossed eyes

Zoe's crossed eyes

So in essence, we’ve done as much as we can with glasses, and the doctor brought up surgery. I knew the possibility was there. When I was being honest with myself before the appointment, I knew that it was even likely, but it didn’t make it any easier to hear or think about. We asked a whole bunch of questions, and we’re satisfied that the surgery is our next step. The surgery is scheduled for a month from today. It is apparently an easy, outpatient surgery, probably less than an hour, with a recovery of one day.

I was really shaky and upset this morning after the appointment, but I’m slowly coming around to accept that this will be ok, that Zoe will be ok, and in fact, we’re hoping she’ll be better than ok, and her eyes will start to work together so that she can start developing binocular vision. That’s what this is about, right. This is about her, this is about getting Zoe what she needs for her vision. I keep trying to remind myself that we have so much to be grateful for, that she is healthy, that her strabismus is treatable, that we caught it early. But it’s hard, I had been so hoping that the glasses alone would be sufficient.



I suppose one good thing is that the discussions with the ophthalmologist pointed out just how much I’ve grown to love Zoe’s glasses – you may remember that this was not always the case. This morning, when the eye doctor said Zoe would still need glasses after the surgery, I sighed a little sigh of relief that she’d get the keep wearing them, because I think she looks so dang cute in those specs.

(this was cross-posted to my Little Four Eyes blog).



  1. Oh, Ann, I’m sorry to hear that Zoe will need surgery. You’re definitely taking the right attitude about it, though, and focusing on what’s best for Zoe. Kids are so resilient and quick to heal, so I’m sure that it won’t take Zoe long to recover. I think you and Chris have done a tremendous job of dealing with this and finding the best treatment for her. You’re wonderful parents. And I agree that Zoe’s glasses are adorable!

  2. I am so sorry to hear about her surgery. Even when the doc says it is a short, outpatient procedure with a quick recovery time I can only imagine how heavily it would weigh on my heart to know my baby is having a surgery.

    My best friend IRL is dealing with the same problem. Her baby is almost one year old and she has been applying eye patches in an effort to help strengthen his eyes and it has helped, but they are not perfect. It is hard to see her worry so much about him.

    She IS super cute in her glasses!!

  3. Eve

    I am guessing this is surgery on the eye muscles? If so, probably somehat similar to what I had done (once as a little kid and once in high school). Didn’t entirely work for me, though it did help. My mother is convinced that’s where I caught chickenpox (while in the hospital the first time), but other than that and seeing double for a few days, I don’t remember any bad side effects, or it being painful at all. So I know it’s tough to imagine putting Zoe through it, but it shouldn’t be too much of an ordeal for her. (Let me know if you want to talk about it it more detail).

    and hey, better but not perfect is not the end of the world. Nobody’s perfect.

  4. i am already sending you good thoughts and well wishes for her surgery, I know it will go great and you are right, its good for her and she needs! hard decision though I bet. And those glasses are so freakin cute!

  5. I’m sure surgery is never an easy decision for a parent, esp for such a young child, but like you said, this is best for Zoe. Hopefully the surgery will be quick and simple and take care of everything. And she still gets to be a cutie with glasses šŸ™‚

  6. I am praying for you all! My son had nasolacrimal duct surgery in both tear ducts twice! The first time a doctor made us go to the hospital for outpatient surgery with general anesthesia. And his expensive and inexperienced attempt didn’t work. Then another, better doctor did it right there in his private office with just local anesthesia and it was successful. You are an awesome mom, recognizing that it is hard, but being grateful at the same time!

  7. Thanks everyone for all the comments. I’m feeling a little better about things now.

    Eve, yes the surgery is on the eye muscles. It’s apparently pretty common, so it’s probably the same surgery you had. How old were you when you had it done the first time? And you’re right – perfection is over-rated.

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