Drew’s Infantile Esotropia
Drew was born with Infantile Esotropia. He was officially diagnosed at 4 months old, but his parents started suspecting something was wrong around 2 months after he was born.
After Drew was diagnosed with infantile esotropia, his parents started to look for a doctor to perform surgery on Drew’s eyes. They were living in Rockford, Michigan at the time and Drew’s dad was working Monday through Thursday's in Detroit (about 2 hours away). After expanding their search beyond the Grand Raipds area to Detroit, they stumbled upon a pediatric ophthalmologist they describe as, “An angel sent to help children with their vision”. Drew’s mom goes on to say, “Our pediatric ophthalmologist is truly remarkable and has a way with children (and their families) that I can't even begin to put into words. We were blown away by his bedside manner and knowledge with the first 5 minutes we were in his office. The same goes for all of the staff that work with him.”
On April 20, 2010, at the age of 9 months old, Drew had his first esotropia surgery. Both inner eye muscles were adjusted and the surgery took a little over an hour. For Drew’s family, the day was filled with emotion. Drew’s mom relates how she felt, “I was so overwhelmed with anxiety, anticipation, sadness and excitement. When we first got into the waiting area for surgery, it was filled with kids in beds. You could tell that some kids had done this before and some were there for the first time. It was heartbreaking to see these innocent children waiting to be taken to surgery and the parents trying to hold it together and putting on a brave face.” Aside from the emotion that came with seeing other children waiting for surgery, Drew’s family also was trying to be brave for Drew.
Once Drew woke up from surgery and opened his eyes, his Mom began to cry. It was the first time since he was born that he had two straight eyes. Immediately, Drew’s behavior began to change. The day of his surgery he was walking along the couch and indicating to his parents that his sight had improved.
The first surgery was a success, but 8 weeks later his eyes began deviating. Their pediatric ophthalmologist decided that another surgery was needed to adjust the muscles in Drew’s eyes.
Drew’s birthday was a month before the second surgery and his parents decided to make a special request of all the guests they invited to his party. Instead of bringing Drew a present, Drew’s parents suggested that guests either bring an unwrapped gift to be donated to the children’s hospital where Drew’s surgery was performed or that a donation be made to the Children’s Eye Foundation.
The results surprised Drew’s parents, “The gifts for the children’s hospital were pouring in and we received donations to the Children's Eye Foundation as well. We were thankful to everyone who chose to honor Drew’s birthday in this special way.”
When it came time for Drew’s second surgery, the family loaded up three trash bags full of toys and headed to the hospital. When they arrived to check in with bags full of toys, according to Drew’s mom, “they thought we were nuts.” Undeterred, Drew’s family began passing out toys to all of the children who were waiting to have surgery, with great results. “Some of the parents were moved to tears (as was I)”, says Drew’s mom, “and some people just looked at us in disbelief. I can't speak for my husband but I know for me, it was the most rewarding experience I have ever been a part of."
The Children’s Eye Foundation is most thankful to Drew’s parents for helping to spread the word about vision disorders in children and welcome others to do the same. If you or someone you know would like to share their experience with vision problems, please sign up to be a ‘little ambassador’ like Drew.