For the DeRaaf family it was just another annual eye exam for the kids. But this year, they would be shocked by what they found. Optometrist Dr. Farrah Sunderji says she noticed Abby was having trouble doing the eye exam even though she was wearing glasses. And, there were no lenses that appeared to help. After looking at her retina photographs Dr. Sunderji knew there was something seriously wrong and referred Abby to a Pediatric Opthamologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Turns out, Abby has a macular dystrophy that is progressive and for which there is no cure. Her brother Bryson has it as well. The diagnosis was devastating for the children and their family, but these days they’re moving forward. Their mother, Joel, says it was a “deer in the headlights” kind of feeling at first but these days the family is adjusting. While there are no glasses that will help the children see better, there are many low vision aids that are helping them live a more normal life. Smartphones and tablets are also incredibly helpful.
In the meantime, the DeRaaf family has become very passionate about encouraging all families to get their children’s eye examined. For Eye Health Month, she wants families to take advantage of the fact that all eye health exams in Alberta are covered by the province for children. She says you never know what you’re going to find.
For more information on what an eye exam is all about visit this website.