Infant having surgery

Talia's Story

Talia was born on the 30th December 2008, a beautiful healthy baby and our first daughter. She was an extremely unsettled newborn and for various reasons I was referred to see a Consultant Paediatrician. Talia was nine weeks old when I walked into the Paediatricians office for the first time holding Talia in my arms. The doctor’s first words were, ‘My, she has a stonking squint!’
As her mother I had noticed her squint and having had a squint myself, worn patches and glasses and had an eventual operation to remove it age three, I was especially aware of Talia’s obvious cross eye. It also became the brunt of many family jokes.

And so our journey into the world of Orthoptics began. The Paediatrician referred us to a lovely Orthoptist and we first saw her together with an Optometrist to test Talia’s vision when Talia was 8 months old. She passed her first exams with flying colours and we were pleasantly surprised when we were told that Talia has a pseudo squint, a trick of the eye appearing as a squint that is not actually so. We were told that this could change and we should return to the clinic for a follow up 6 months later.

Good news generally. Talia’s eyes continued to look very cross-eyed; she continued to be a fretful baby and her eyes continued to be the subject of rather distasteful jokes from my husband’s side of the family! Six months later we returned to the clinic. We thought it would be a quick visit perhaps with a suggestion of another follow up some time in the future.

However, it seemed that Talia’s pseudo squint had changed into a rather severe squint. We were not that surprised as Talia’s eyes had been gradually looking worse. The kind Orthoptist explained that she would need to see a Paediatric Ophthalmologist and that Talia would probably require glasses and possibly surgery. She arranged for us to see Mr. Reddy the following week for a Consultation. Talia was sixteen months old.

We saw Mr. Reddy privately at Moorfields in the Richard Desmond Childrens’ Hospital. Mr. Reddy was extremely kind and his special ‘duck’ noises certainly helped catch Talia’s attention and helped his examination run smoothly. Mr. Reddy informed us that Talia’s squint was severe and that glasses would not help her. He explained that she would need surgery and reassured us that it was a day surgery and was quite routine. He explained the risks involved and the possibility that the surgery would not correct the squint and that she may require further surgeries in the future. He explained that it would be possible to notice a difference immediately if the surgery had been a success.

We scheduled the surgery for June. Talia was eighteen months old. The surgery took place at Moorfields eye hospital. I had fleeting thoughts of worry prior to the surgery but generally I focused on the advantages to Talia should the surgery be successful. I was also fortunate enough to know from my own experience what a difference the surgery could make.

The surgery took place on a Friday. Mr. Reddy was there to greet us shortly after our arrival and explained the surgery again together with the risks and asked us to sign a consent form. The staff on the day were magnificent, caring, kind and very attentive to Talia. We really appreciated this and do not take for granted their amazing work for children with really severe eye problems on a daily basis.

The Anaesthetist met with us and explained that her preference was an injection to sedate Talia. It was obviously difficult to watch our baby being put to sleep and to be apart from her for those two hours, anxiously waiting to be told she was awake. When we were called to see her she had one eye patched up and the other eye looked quite red. She was pretty groggy and slept for most of the afternoon. We left the hospital in the late afternoon and by the time we had arrived home she had perked up in time for lots of presents!!

For the next month Talia had eye drops administered four times daily and she quickly became used to having them put in. Aside from some redness, we noticed an immediate difference. Not only were her eyes looking in the same direction but she seemed altogether a more content child. Friends and family continue to comment on this change and we believe it is no coincidence.

We have recently seen Mr. Reddy and the Orthoptist for a follow up and everyone involved is really pleased with the results of the surgery, most of all it seems is Talia. We have another follow up in three months but for the time being we are so delighted that her beautiful blue eyes are now clear for all to see and it would appear that she sees the world through different eyes too, as evident by her change in temperament.

We cannot thank everyone involved enough.

Rebecca and Daniel Corney (Talia’s mummy and daddy).

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