martha's vineyard community services · early childhood programs · family center
Family Matters is prepared monthly by the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center, a program of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
funded by grants from the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
“We just got lucky.”
When people ask me, “How did you know your baby needed glasses?” I always say, “We just got lucky.” As a new mom, I had no idea my infant’s eyes needed to be checked for glasses. We had no indicators that she had any vision difficulties. Her eyes weren’t crossing, or lazy. She responded to things near and far. We never heard in our prenatal class, pediatrician’s office, or baby books anyone suggesting it. It was a stroke of luck that the genetics department at Children’s Hospital, Boston recommended we get our baby’s eyes checked at 3 months as part of their work up for a hand condition she and my husband have. When we went for her comprehensive eye exam, we were shocked when they said, “We’ll send the report to genetics (which turned out to show nothing for their purposes), but since you’re here, your daughter is nearsighted and needs glasses.”
We were in such disbelief we didn’t fill the prescription they gave us. I had never heard of infants wearing glasses, let alone seen one. We researched on-line; and 2 months later went back for a second opinion with the department head. He agreed she needed them and should start wearing glasses right away.
“How can the doctors tell she needed glasses?” The exam is very similar to ours except that the doctor tests manually by looking into the eye to see its shape. They hold the eyelid open and shine a light into the eye as they hold up various lenses to see which is needed. They also check for glaucoma and other issues.
If needed, it’s important for babies to wear glasses right away because if one eye is stronger than the other, the brain won’t develop the weak eye. This can result in the need for a patch to try and regain vision in the weak eye if it gets detected in time to avoid permanent loss. Additionally, if the child’s vision is not correct, it effects other development like crawling, walking, depth perception, coordination etc. As they age, what may seem like behavioral issues can actually be a result of undiagnosed vision difficulties. Since there is no way for a baby to know what the world is supposed to look like, it is up to the parent to help by having their child’s eyes checked.
Since 1 in 10 babies have eye issues, why isn’t it common knowledge to get their eyes checked? If it hadn’t been for other reasons, I wouldn’t have known my baby needed glasses until she was older, causing her unnecessary challenges. Somehow this important piece of parent education is overlooked. As someone who wants to do the best for their baby, it’s upsetting to think I’d have missed this because I simply didn’t know. I’m so grateful that we got lucky.
Emily Sims Solarazza enjoys living on Martha’s Vineyard, teaching yoga and being a mom.
InfantSEE optometrists provide comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants within the first year of life regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage. For more information, including who’s your closest participating provider,
go to www.infantsee.org or call 888-396-EYES.
Introduction to Children’s Literature ENL120 – 64 A Cape Cod Community College 3 credit course taught through ACE MV on-Island this spring. Students survey works drawn from the rich variety of children’s literature. They analyze selections from major genres, discuss historical and contemporary issues, and develop practical ways of involving children in literature. For individuals working in early education and care, a grant to the public schools from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation will pay a portion of the tuition cost. Saturdays: May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sign-up TODAY www.acemv.org!
March Activity Schedule
3/2 Messy Playgroup 10:00-11:30 a.m. – Family Center
3/10 Martha’s Vineyard Council for Young Children
5:30-7:00 p.m. – MVRHS Library Conference Room
Waiting Parents Group 7:00-8:30 p.m. – Family Center
3/11 Coffee & Conversation (seven weeks) Fridays 9:30-11:00 a.m. Pre-registration required - 508 693-7900 x283
3/12 CSEFEL Training 9:00-11:00 a.m. Grace Church
All Families Touched by Adoption Playgroup 10:30-12:30 p.m. – Family Center
3/14 First Haircuts with Kristin 4:30-6:00 p.m. – Family Center
Pre-registration required - 508 693-7900 x288
3/19 Open Playgroup 10:00-12:00 p.m. - Family Center
3/22 Bullying with Jeanine Fitzgerald 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Edgartown School Library sponsored by the Edgartown PTO and MV Family Center
3/24 All Families Touched by Adoption Book Discussion
7:00-8:30 p.m. – Family Center
Beneath the MASK, understanding adoptive teens by Debbie Riley, with John Meek For more information call - 508 693-7900 x283
3/26 Brazillian Playgroup 9:00-10:30 a.m. – Family Center
CPR & First Aid 9:00-2:00 p.m. For more information call - 508 693-7900 x283
Grace Preschool Annual Spaghetti Dinner & Auction 5:00-7:00 p.m. – Grace Church Giordano’s is cooking! Celebrity Auctioneer, Mike Delis
3/30 Supporting Your Child Through A Successful Kindergarten Transition with Debbie Jernegan 5:00-6:30 p.m.Pre-registration required - 508 693-7900 x288
3/31 Allergy Focus Group 5:00-6:30 p.m. – Family Center For more information call - 508 693-7900 x283 Ongoing activities at the Family Center
Open Playgroup every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 10 - 11:30 a.m. & Tuesday 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Baby’s First Year every Monday 3-4:30 p.m. & Thursday 10:30 - 12:00 p.m.
Dads Playgroup every Tuesday 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Gym Time every Thursday (except 3/3) 10:00 – 12:00 p.m. Edgartown Boys & Girls Club
Debbie Jernegan, MV Family Center Early Childhood Community Advocate, with Representative Tim Madden at Massachusetts Early Education & Care and School Age Advocacy Day, February 17, 2011