My 3 year old needs glasses. Why am I so upset?

I took the kids for their first eye test this morning. On reflection, I was more concerned about toddler meltdowns than the end result, and we were all looking forward to piling into Costa afterwards for two babychinos and a (self-congratulatory) mummy latte. After all, I’ve done pretty well this month… Haircut – tick, dentist – tick, eye test…

I knew something was awry as soon as the optician plonked a large pile of multi-coloured stickers on her desk and told the kids to take their time choosing. Emily had volunteered to go before Jess, announcing each letter and animal with her usual confidence. When it was Jess’ turn she started getting fidgety straightaway. When asked to repeat her answers she glanced more at me than the wall.

‘You’re daughter’s left eye has slight astigmatism. It’s very common. It can cause blurriness. She’ll need to wear glasses, at least until the problem corrects itself. Perhaps longer.’ I stared at the optician in shock. ‘Not all the time surely?’ I muttered. My mind was whirring. I’ve never had to wear glasses except for driving. Matt’s still 20/20. Surely this nice lady with the perfect black eyeliner flick had made a mistake?

Not so. The optician was 85% sure of her diagnosis but she’s booked Jess in for more tests next week to confirm. I fixed a smile on my face, the one we mums crack open when we’re treading water on the inside but need to portray a manic level of calm to our offspring, and crossed the road to Costa. Ten minutes later Matt joined us and asked how it went.

That’s when I burst into tears.

I’m still trying to rationalize my reaction now. In society’s ‘eyes’ is Jess not ‘perfect’ anymore? It’s such a ridiculous thing to write that I’m rolling my own as I do it. Jess is super-smart, confident and feisty as hell. Playground bullies wouldn’t dare… Besides, this isn’t the 1960s. The NHS isn’t doling out thick black frames anymore. She’ll have a lovely pair of glasses, the best that money can buy. Unbreakable frames, prescription sunnies and swimming goggles… sign us up for the lot. Nothing’s going to hold her back. And glasses are cool nowadays anyway. She’ll be bang on trend before she’s even four.

Was it something I did? Have I allowed her to watch too much television? Is it all my fault? FFS. I was wondering when Mother’s Guilt was going to rear her ugly, bastard head. Matt had to smack this one down for me. ‘It’s probably genetic, you idiot!’ He has a point. My sight may be ok but members of my close family have always had issues.

We parents like to self-flagellate but we’re also pretty good at looking on the upside of stuff too (once we’ve had a super-sized gin and the kids are in bed). Jess is NOT facing a long, arduous battle with some awful disease. Her astigmatism ISN’T that bad. She’s so young that it may even correct itself in the next few years (mini high-five for mummy vigilance). If not then we’ll investigate semi-permanent contact lenses. Two of her friends already wear glasses and, best of all, she’ll be able to SEE!!!

That’s the whole point isn’t it?

Silly Mummy.

*This blog post has also appeared on The Huffington Post


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  1. February 27, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    That’s a perfectly normal reaction. My mummy took me for an eye test last year and had the same feelings. What’s more important is that it will correct itself and wearing glasses helps with that x #MarvMondays

  2. February 27, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    That’s what I try to keep telling myself. I know it’s a really good thing deep down 🙂 Thanks! xx

  3. February 27, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    I feel you on this. We are struggling with reading right now with our first grader. My hubby is dyslexic so I’m not surprised by her struggle, but at the same time it’s still frustrating to want her to just “get it” the way you want your little one to just be able to see.

    I have stigmatisms in my eyes and I see stars instead of round lights when I drive at night. Luckily my diagnosis is just a small correction so I don’t need thick glasses or surgery or anything like that.

    The good thing is that if they get glasses it can fix the issue! At least it’s not something like an eye disease where they might lose an eye. In the moment though it’s not that easy to be happy about these things.


    • February 27, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Thanks Zoe! I know it’ll be ok in the end. Fingers crossed the problem will get sorted in the next few years xx

  4. February 27, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    I understand your gut feeling and initial reaction… even I sometimes fear glasses for my LO on account of too much TV. BUT, it’s NOT always our fault though our momguilt lets us believe otherwise!!! Hope the glasses help sort the problem out soon. Good luck.

  5. February 27, 2017 / 11:13 pm

    Thanks Nicole – i’ll let you know how we get on! xx

  6. February 28, 2017 / 6:59 am

    I know exactly how you feel. We didn’t discover my son’s eye problems till he was 4 and he went through a couple of years of having to wear patches as one eye was barely working at all. It has improved and he’s no longer on patches but he still has very regular checkups and has to wear a pretty big prescription in one eye. I felt like the biggest failure, like it was somehow all my fault, how could we not have known? Why didn’t we get his eyes checked sooner? It broke my heart every time I had to make him wear a patch. He loves his glasses though, so that’s something at least. My daughter has been checked regularly since she was 6 months old as apparently his condition is very often found in siblings and everything was always fine but at the last check up they mentioned they’re might be a slight stigmatism. She has another appointment next month and if it hasn’t improved she’ll have to wear glasses too. She’s only two and a half, how on earth will I get her to keep them on?

    • February 28, 2017 / 5:58 pm

      Sorry you’ve had such a tough time. I’m glad to hear your son likes his glasses though. Hopefully Jess will too 🙂 We may have to swap tips about how to keep those glasses on our girls… fingers crossed all is well xx

  7. March 1, 2017 / 11:21 am

    So glad I read this as my son is booked into the docs on Friday as I have noticed he is squinting a lot. I feel exactly the same as you about the glasses thing…

    • March 1, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thanks for reading. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I think i’ve finally come to terms with it now the dust has settled. More tests are booked on Saturday for final confirmation. J doesn’t seem bothered by it. She’s more concerned about getting Paw Patrol glasses (which i think they do!) Best of luck for Friday xxx

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