Eye Health & Eye Conditions

Parent Q&A

Visual Perceptual Skills Assessment, Learning Assessments Nov 19, 2019 (2 responses below)
15 year old with Keratoconus-- advice Sep 17, 2019 (5 responses below)
Pediatric Cataracts Surgery Apr 9, 2019 (4 responses below)
Keratoconus Feb 12, 2018 (3 responses below)
Watery eyes Nov 21, 2016 (2 responses below)
  • Hello Experienced Parents,

    My 6yo 1st grade daughter was assessed at UCB Optometry & found to have several things including exophoria (eyes may drift differently), vergence infacility (problems with the eye teaming system), farsightedness, things up close bring blurred, spatial planning & tracking difficulty, etc! It was recommended that she get progressive lenses & return for an “abbreviated visual perceptual skills assessment” for possible vision therapy. Problem is I found the supervising optometrist a little difficult to communicate with in-person plus extremely hard to reach by phone or email through their email system (she still hasn’t answered my follow up questions 2-3 weeks later). Has anyone else dealt with this & found another better place to complete a visual perceptual skills assessment? (And if you have experience with a full assessment for learning problems including dyslexia, dyscalculia & inattention - do you know if any of the visual perceptual tests fall into a more comprehensive assessment?) I think vision is a part of her challenge but not all of it & I want to get a very good learning disability assessment beyond vision down the road (before a school district one), so any recommendations or advice about that would also be welcome. Thank you!

    - M

    We had the supervisor Mark Wu at the UCB eye clinic and thought he was great.  We saw Carina Grandison for learning assessment and thought she was great.

    We had a good experience with the vision therapy at UCB Optometry, and also had some testing done there. We had the full testing done through the UC Psych Dept -- (twice at different ages) -- it was helpful, and I thought the grad students did a good job of understanding how to establish the 504 set-up for a child who was both highly gifted and with significant learning differences. My suggestion is to go ahead and get the testing done for the vision therapy, because it can be very helpful.

  • 15 year old with Keratoconus-- advice

    (5 replies)

    Our 15-year-old son was just diagnosed with keratoconus (a progressive eye disease), which we've been told often begins in puberty. We're wondering if anyone else has received this diagnosis, and, if so, if you'd be willing to give us the benefit of your experience. We are looking for any information, advice, or especially recommendations for a good specialist.... Thank you in advance!

    My 15 year old son was also diagnosed with keratoconus this last year. He had the cross linking (cxl) procedure done with Dr. Geske at Kaiser on both eyes. One over spring break, the next over summer. The procedure itself was relatively easy for him, with the most acute pain happening in the hours just after. He was back to normal in a couple of days. We did the cross linking without too much hesitation as it seems to be the best and most direct way to avoid having an eventual corneal replacement. Watch (or don’t if you’re squeamish) videos of both procedures and see which looks worse! We’re just a year out from diagnosis and have no regrets moving quickly forward with the treatment.

    My husband was also diagnosed with Kerataconus as a teen and had two corneal transplants.
    He sees Dr. Demartini in Oakland.

    I ran across an article about a Kaiser doctor who's specializing in kerataconus.  Hope this helps! Naveen Chandra, MDOphthalmology, KP Diablo Service Area Corneal Crosslinking For 15 years Dr. Chandra witnessed the deteriorating vision of patients diagnosed with keratoconus, while at the same time knowing that people with the same condition in other parts of the world had access to a procedure called corneal crosslinking that stabilized the disease. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure in 2016, Dr. Chandra implemented a strategy to deploy the procedure, not only at Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek, but across the region. Thanks largely to Dr. Chandra’s efforts, specialists across KP Northern California have performed more than 900 corneal crosslinking procedures since 2016, while signs indicate that the rate of corneal transplants is declining. Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the cornea thins and bulges into a cone shape that deflects light, causing distorted vision. About 1 in 2,000 adults in the United States are affected by the disease, and up to 20% of them eventually need a corneal transplant. Corneal crosslinking, which first became available in Europe, is a minimally invasive, 70-minute outpatient procedure that stops keratoconus in its tracks by creating new links between collagen fibers that stabilize and strengthen the cornea.Because quick access to the procedure requires close collaboration between ophthalmology and optometry, Dr. Chandra developed a streamlined testing and referral system in anticipation of FDA approval to help patients navigate efficiently from diagnosis to procedure. This was particularly important for patients who already had keratoconus and were anxious for a cure. Thanks largely to Dr. Chandra’s efforts, specialists across KP Northern California have performed more than 900 corneal crosslinking procedures since 2016, and signs indicate that the rate of corneal transplants in KP Northern California is declining. “Dr. Chandra has a real passion for providing the best care to patients,” says Dr. Ken Grullon, co-physician-in-chief for the Diablo service area. “He stayed abreast of cutting-edge treatments for keratoconus, saw how convincing the data was for corneal crosslinking, and made sure our patients had access to this treatment as soon as it was approved. He really does exemplify what it means to be a TPMG physician.”

  • Pediatric Cataracts Surgery

    (4 replies)


    We were just told that our 3-year-old has cataracts in one eye and needs surgery within the next weeks. From what I read, the doctor's experience is paramount in this kind of surgeries.

    Any parent out there who went through the same and/or can recommend a doctor specialized in pediatric cataracts that we can get a second opinion from? 

    Thank you so much

    RE: Pediatric Cataracts Surgery ()

    I don’t have any recommendations specific to pediatric cataracts. But we were referred to Dr. Rona Silkiss (link to bio below) about 5 years ago by my son’s pediatrician. She said at the time she thought Dr Silkriss was the best surgeon in the Bay Area for pediatric eye issues. We were impressed with her competence and skill with my son’s surgery. We also had a great experience with the outpatient surgery center next to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Everything went smoothly. Good luck to your family.


    RE: Pediatric Cataracts Surgery ()

    Yes! Dr. Alejandra de Alba - Campomanes at UCSF. She is lovely, approachable, thoughtful and very skilled, therefore busy! Hopefully you can get in soon, but if not with her, then any of the pediatric ophthalmologists at UCSF (Mission Bay) are terrific- also Dr. Ying Han. The bonus of going to UCSF is that your child will be cared for by their excellent pediatric anesthesiologists during his/her surgery - which is reason enough to go to there, IMO. Best of luck. 

    RE: Pediatric Cataracts Surgery ()

    I'm sorry your little one has to go through this. Our daughter had eye surgery for strabismus at age 2. It was a bit nerve wracking, but we felt confident putting her in the care of pediatric ophthalmologist Dr William Good. I did a lot of research and he was recommended many times as the best in the area. After 14 years of having Dr Good care for my daughter's vision, I can second that. Aside from his medical expertise, he also happens to be a lovely person who has shown genuine interest in watching our daughter grow over the years. He's always answered our questions thoroughly and thoughtfully and has a wonderful calm demeanor with children.

    We see Dr Good in San Francisco, but I think he also has offices in Marin and San Ramon. His San Francisco # is 415-202-1500.

  • Keratoconus

    (3 replies)

    I am looking for anyone who either has a child or yourself has Keratoconus and where and if you sought treatment.  My  son has been recently diagnosed with it and is being seen at Kaiser Oakland.  I would consider going outside Kaiser for treatment.

    RE: Keratoconus ()

    My husband has had excellent care through Kaiser all his life after the diagnosis in his teens. He has been pleased with Dr. Han's (Oakland) care. Excellent care is paramount because the scarring can be exacerbated by ill fitting contacts. Kaiser took good care of him with his cornea transplant in his 40s.

    RE: Keratoconus ()

    Thank you to the person who responded about her husband.  I tried to find Dr. Han as an opthalmologist at Kaiser Oakland but he/she isn't listed.  Also, did you husband have Cross Linking done there?

    Thanks again.


    RE: Keratoconus ()

    Dr. Han is found in the Oakland Optometry department.

  • Watery eyes

    (2 replies)

    I've noticed as I've aged (now 61) that my eyes water a lot. At my annual eye exams I've been told to try a daily warm compress to unclog tear ducts (didn't work) and to take Thera Tears (a fish oil supplement), which seemed to help. I've been taking the Costco Kirkland fish oil capsules, but notice that after several months, it doesn't seem as effective as it did in the beginning. I'm wondering if others have the same condition and have found a treatment that works. And if fish oil is the answer, is there a downside to taking more than the recommended dose and how important is it to take the Thera Tears brand rather than say a less expensive Costco brand. And is it better to take one capsule 3x a day or 3 all at once. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    RE: Watery eyes ()

    Hi there - you may have already been tested for this, but in case not I thought I'd throw out there that it might be a herpetic virus.  For me only one eye was watering all the time and that's what it turned out to be (who knew you could get the virus on your eyeball???).  Anyway, Valacyclovir cleared it up, and now I take it prophylactically once a day.  That's done the trick.  Not a great diagnosis, but could be worse, and at least the medication stops the eyes watering!

    RE: Watery eyes ()

    Restasis is what made a huge difference for me. Your eyes are watering because your tear production is compromised. It seems counterintuitive, but you probably have dry eyes. Restasis has a bigger co-payment than most RX, but you should be able to get a sample to try. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Eye injury that has turned repetitive

April 2012

A couple years ago I was hit in the eye hard with a blunt object. (I was playing with my one year old.) I went to the emergency room and soon after saw an eye specialist. My eye healed well and I'm ridiculously lucky in where it happened (so they tell me), even though I lost my 20/20 vision as a result. So now I have this problem that if I open that eye too quickly from sleeping, it will rip my eye. It's an extremely sharp pain and will take almost an entire day for the pain to go away again. It's like the slippery layer on the eye never healed correctly and so now it sticks to my eye lid. I've tried putting lubricant drops in my eye before bed, but it doesn't help (doesn't last until morning). I've also tried the thicker stuff too, but I'm not really any good with putting it in and keeping my eye closed until I'm asleep. I just don't work that way. Has anybody had any related experiences with this type of thing? Any ideas of new ways to deal with this issue? Anything would be appreciated. -thanks

This might work for you. I had lens-replacement surgery years ago and the doctor told me to take 1-2 teaspoons of fish oil daily on an ongoing basis to prevent dry eyes (which had been a problem for me prior to the surgery as well). Not only did it solve my dry, itchy eye problem, but it makes my skin look 10 years younger. He said that he does not know why, but his experience is that the capsules do not work well. One must take the liquid form of the fish oil. We use Carlson (Norwegian) which is tested for heavy metal content and comes in various flavors (lemon, etc). It is available in health food stores, Berkeley Bowl, and the like (keep in refrigerator). I simply swallow a spoonful, though my husband likes it mixed into yogurt. My surgeon also said that the only drawback is that you are adding a few calories to your daily diet so you need to be aware of that and, if necessary, cut back a little elsewhere. Good luck!
Google ''Recurrent Corneal Erosion''. I was recently diagnosed with this at the UC Optometry Clinic during a routine eye exam. Mine is not painful and does not require treatment though it does make me sensitive to light. The optometrist told me that cells on the surface of the cornea are sloughing off, perhaps due to an injury, causing the cornea to stick to the eyelid after the eyes have been closed for a while. He said it can be very painful. There are ointments available. Make an appointment with an optometrist - they can tell whether this is the problem when they examine your eyes. UC is great and I recommend it. I hope that helps. G.
I don't know if this would work but what if you wore an eye patch to bed so you couldn't open your eye suddenly in the morning. Then put in eye drops as you first open your eye. Maybe buy some pirate pajamas to go with? Good luck! Arrgh eye pain is no fun
Go to the UC Berkeley eye clinic and see Dr. Robert DiMartino who has trained many of the eye doctors in the area that went to UC. If he can't help you he will know who can. They also have a specialty clinic there for unusual eye problems that he will refer you to for extensive testing if deemed helpful and necessary. Dr. DiMartino is a great guy with a good sense of humor and very very knowledgeable. 510-642-2020 happy patient
What you described is called recurrent corneal erosion (RCE) which can be an ongoing problem after an eye injury. I'm so sorry how much pain you have to endure. However, you really should go see an eye doctor (corneal specialists or medically trained optometrists) because each episode means your cornea has just been compromised with a risk of an eye infection, which is far more serious than RCE itself. There are numerous treatments depending on individual situations. Besides treating the immediate episode, the doctor might suggest to use Muro128 -a 5% solution during the day & ointment at night, ''bandage contact lens'' to avoid erupting the layer, or opt for minor procedures such as removing the loose problematic tissue by cotton tip or laser, or purposely create some minor scars to anchor the outermost layer of your cornea, or something else I'm not aware of. Meanwhile, I would suggest to gently dab/massage the eyelids prior to open eyes, and try not to open eyes too quickly. Hope that helps! An optometrist
I'd make sure to go to an ophthalmologist (M.D.) over an optometrist, not an M.D. but someone who has expertise in glasses and contact lens prescriptions, especially for a recurrent eye problem. Anon
Dear Anonymous who responded that the question asker should only seek care from an ophthalmologist (MD) because optometrists only fit glasses and contacts: you are incorrect. Optometrists do not just fit glasses and contacts. They take care of chronic problems including recurrent corneal erosions (which often utilize contact lenses during the treatment process, but I digress), along with other health issues related to eyes. What optometrists do not do is surgery- -like cataract removal, or blepharoplasty, or scleral buckles for retinal detachments. optometrist who treats recurrent corneal erosions and other eye diseases all the time
I would go to the UC optometry center and get an appt with one of the the resident teaching doctors there, not a student. It sounds a bit like you may have either scar tissue or a small flap on the surface. My wife had a tiny flap from an injury and they had to remove it, then they had her wear a contact and use drops for a week and then it was better. Alex

Light sensitive eyes

March 2012

I have recently developed a strong sensitivity to light causing me considerable pain/discomfort and keeping me indoors too much. The opthamologist had no suggestion other than saline drops. I would appreciate hearing about any relief anyone has had from this type of problem: homeopathic? herbal? other? thanks. anon

I have had this problem throughout the years. For me, I find it is much worse when I am around a lot of indoor fluorescent lighting. The bulbs in the fluorescent lights make a difference, and my employer has always been good about putting the daylight kind in my office. I'm also just super careful about always carrying sunglasses. Good luck - I know it hurts! hope you find relief
Make sure that your doctor checks your eye pressures for glaucoma, of which light sensitivity is a classic symptom. If they haven't ruled out glaucoma, go get tested right away because if you have high eye pressures, the longer you wait the more damage is done. Tim
My eyes have gotten a lot more light sensitive in recent years. I have always been sensitive to light but I find that now I can no longer tolerate overhead fluorescent lighting - it hurts! So I keep the lighting low in my office with table lamps instead of overhead lights and at home I have a couple of lamps that still use incandescent lights instead of fluorescent. I always wear dark sunglasses outside and have an extra pair in the car. It's probably a good idea to have an eye exam and discuss with an optometrist too. In my case, I'm just sensitive to light. a mom
I have been extremely sensitive to light my entire life, and got (diagnosed) migraines for months after moving to SF from New York City. I don't any more, so you could become somewhat more light-tolerant. Buy the best pair of sunglasses you can afford, wear a hat if you like the look, get yourself some ibuprofen and take that (stronger effect if with coffee), and plan on living with it. People cope w much worse things
it doesn't appear you got a diagnosis for your recent light sensitivity. have you considered the possibility that this could be migraine? that is a classic symptom of migraine. just a thought.... anon
Photophobia is a symptom of many different diseases or can be a side effect of certain drugs or medications, including botox. If your eye doctor did not find anything physically wrong then I'd suggest following up with a doctor to rule out another cause such as migraines, Sjogren's disease etc. Think of any other new symptoms going on so that you can give a full report. After that, I'd consider seeing an acupuncturist who will factor in subtle symptoms holistically and be able to prescribe herbs. It might even be due to a new food or spice you are consuming. I've experienced this myself and finally figured out it was from too much nutmeg (I had concurrent hypersomnia). Anything over-done can be toxic. Most likely it is a passing problem, good luck! Anon

Mom's lingering problem after pink-eye

Aug 2011

I caught pink-eye for the first time in my life after my daughter had it, took the antibiotics...but MONTHS later I still have this wierd eye issue. My eye itches right at the lash line and sometimes the area swells, and I can actually see fluid under the skin. Again - only at the eyelash area. And very rarely, a tiny, tiny bit if gunk right at eyelashes. Anyone ever experienced anything like this? What kind of care did you get? I want it to go AWAY! Want to wear makeup again

It sounds like you have ''blufferitis''. It is best treated by using a warm compress on your eyes, especially in the morning. Also using a very mild cleanser on your eye lid. This should help a lot but it can take a while to completely go away. me too
Yike, sweetie!: If I were you - and probably others will say this - I'd go to my eye doctor right away. BTW, I went to my optometrist's a few weeks ago for dry and irritated eyes. He gave me a special cleanser for cleaning right at the lash line. Other advice that is good for your situation too: hot compresses and take fish oil supplements. But don't rely on that; get it checked out! (And take pre and pro-biotics for after those antibiotics - your surrogate mum speaking here, lol) Jessica
Yep, blepharitis. You can gently clean your lashes and lids with baby shampoo on a Q-tip or washcloth. If it's real bad you might need antibiotic drops, But to keep it from coming back it's the eyelash/lid cleaning that counts.

Pterygium in the eye

April 2007

For the last 5 years I have had pterygium in my eye and it has been growing into my cornea. I have been seeing an opthalmologist who is considering surgically removing the growth but he mentioned that there is a 50% chance that the pterygium will return. Does anyone have experience with the surgery and did the pterygium come back? I am an active mom of 2 and I'm concerned that this will affect my vision as it is affecting my way of life with chronic eye irritation and redness. Any advice will be extremely helpful. My eye is always red

My husband has pterygium in both of his eyes. His first surgery was in the early 1990 s with an eye specialist in El Cerrito. Unfortunately, his pterygium grew back almost immediately. We saw Dr. Daniel Goodman in San Francisco a few years later. He s a cornea specialist which is so important when you re dealing with something like pterygium. My husband had another surgery with him and this time it didn t grow back. A few years later, he had surgery on the other eye and unfortunately it did grow back and he'll probably go back in for another surgery. So it s hard to say. I understand pterygirum can be pretty aggressive little boogers. It s not bothering his vision, which is the most important thing, but like you, his eyes are always red. If your insurance can cover it, I would recommend at least a visit to Dr. Goodman to discuss your situation further with him. He s the best in his field. Good luck! Linda
yes, it could grow back, but it might not. if it is causing you significant discomfort, have it removed. eye doc
Hello! Yes, pterygiums have a very high rate of recurrence post- surgery. There are certain surgical techniques that are supposed to increase chances of non-recurrence, but there are mixed opinions about these. My question to you is: are you doing everything possible to prevent growth/redness? You need to be lubricating your eye a lot--Artificial tears during the day. Systane or Soothe is best if you don't wear contacts. Ophthalmic ointment at bedtime. No Visine or anything to try to get the red out of your eyes. Always wear sunglasses when outside--wrap around is best. Always protect your eyes from sun and wind exposure (use sunglasses, cap with visor, etc.) If your pterygium isn't that big, and you can get it to settle down, and you don't mind it cosmetically, you wouldn't need surgery. eye doc

Eye Exercises?

April 2006

I've heard that various types of eye exercises, such as the natural eye sight system, have been successful in building up eye muscles and improving eye sight. Does anyone have advice on such systems or recommendations about clinics/practitioners who specialize in eye exercises? jenny

Eye exercises do really work. you might want to contact Meir Schneider of '' School for Self Healing'' in SF.( www.self- healing.org ) aside from doing consultations, he teaches ''Yoga for the eyes'' based on Dr. Bates theory. I'm a former student of Meir and know for a fact that eye exercises are helpful in relaxing the eyes, improving vision and helping in other conditions as macular degeneration, cataracts, etc... Good luck

Watery eyes

3-year-old's eyes water like CRAZY sometimes

Jan 2011

OK, no lectures about letting our child watch TV please, but here's my question: Sometimes when my 3-year-old boy watches TV, his eyes tear up and water like CRAZY. It seems to only happen sometimes, not all the time, when watching TV. I'm working on a theory that it's when it's something he really likes (Wild Kratts on PBS, Toy Story movies) and he forgets to blink or something. But I don't know. Has anyone ever experienced this? It just seems so weird. I'm not overly concerned about it because he's not camped out in front of the TV constantly anyway, but it is just so strange and I've never heard of this happening and it doesn't seem to have been asked in this forum before. --TV is not evil, though it has its lacrimal challenges

Everyone's blink reflex goes down when doing a visually demanding task like working on a computer, playing a video game, or watching TV. If the eyes get dry enough, they can 'reflex tear'' meaning that the lacrimal gland will overproduce tears for a while to compensate for the dry eye. It should be easy to convince yourself that this is what is going on with your child--just count the number of times he blinks during one of the shows you mention usually brings it on. kids usually blink fewer times per minute than adults anyway. However, a ''normal'' blink rate should be somewhere around 15 blinks per minute (in an adult) and reduces to about 5 if doing something visually demanding.

Now, what can you do to get your kid to blink more--ha! tell me if you come up with something. Here's a better question--does it hurt his eyes somehow to blink less and then reflex tear? No. Only other thing to point out is that it is somewhat unusual for a child to get such dry eyes from non-blinking that they reflex tear. You may want to look at the environment too--is he sitting right under a vent of some sort which is causing the eye to dry out even more. Also, some people have drier eyes than others and sometimes for reasons that can be fixable--may want to get your child a routine eye exam. optometrist

My 2-year-old does the same. I often wonder if maybe her sight is bad? It's worth getting an eye test just to be sure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blepharitis Could be blepharitis. It's due to waxy oils blocking the outlets that normally drain ones normally constantly flowing tears. Sometimes washing the eyelids (with them closed) with baby shampoo can cure it. Also warm compresses are good. sean
My eyes pour water at random times

Nov 2005

My eyes will pour out water at seemingly random times, as though I'm crying, but it often seems unrelated to anything-not even because my eyes are stinging. It can be a bit much, and I'll need to dab my eyes constantly for 30 minutes or more, otherwise I'll look like I've been sobbing nonstop. Does anybody have any ideas of how to stop this? or is this something I should be worried about? The optometrist I went to (who was not very attentive) dismissed it. Thanks!

I think you need a new eye doctor. Check out these sites for more information.
http://www.goodhope.org.uk/departments/eyedept/watery.htm http://www.allaboutvision.com/askdoc/dry-eyes.htm http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/watery_eyes.htm

Calcium deposit near eye?

Sept 2005

I have a small white raised bump on the side of my nose up by my eye. I thought is was a white head, tried to pop it, nothing happened. I've had it for about a month now and someone told me it could be a calcium deposit. What is a calcium deposit? Does anyone know what I can do to get rid of it and prevent others from showing up? Julie

It is probably a milia. You can poke it with a sterilized pin and squeeze the contents out (keratin, not calcium). It won't come back. They can't be prevented but are super easy to get rid of. If you don't feel comfortable treating it yourself, your primary care doctor can do it. Of course, the usual disclaimer applies - without seeing it I can't know what it is, but milia are very common, especially on the face around the eyes, and appear just as you describe - tiny white bumps that look a bit like pimples, but without the inflammation. They are not dangerous. Check out http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001367.htm, a google search will find you several other web sites also. I couldn't find one with a picure. Happy puncturing! doc mama

One Eye Smaller than the Other

October 2003

My 3-1/2 yo son's right eye is noticeably smaller than his left eye. The size difference seems to be getting more noticeable as he grows. When I asked his pediatrician about the difference at his 3yo well-child checkup, she said it was not a medical concern unless the lid was overhanging the pupil and interfering with his sight, which it is not. For obvious reasons, though, I am worried even if the size difference doesn't present a medical problem. Has anyone's child had the same problem? If so, did s/he outgrow it? I assume nothing can be done to rectify the problem. Thanks for any responses. Worried mom

Our daughter has one eye that is slightly smaller than the other. Our pediatrician also said it was nothing to worry about. I took her to the UC Berkeley pediatric eye clinic to get her eyes checked and the person there said it could be an indicator of a sight problem. I can't remember what exactly, and there was little evidence that our daughter had any problems with her eyes, but she recommended I get routine eye exams just to monitor the situation. They are great there! An exam costs about $80 -- unless your insurance covers it. I felt fortunate to have such a wonderful resource in our community. anon
This child needs to be seen by a Pediatric Ophthalmologist right away (within two months). You might be describing a condition known as congenital ptosis (where the upper lid is a little droopy). This condition is known to cause astigmatism in one eye which can lead to amblyopia (''lazy eye''). There are other serious problems that can look like ptosis on the surface (such as neurofibromatosis). Occasionally the problem is not with the eye which looks smaller, but rather, the problem is in what you think is the normal eye. Lid retraction or exophthalmos in one eye can be interpreted as a smaller eye on the other side. These conditions could be caused by many things including orbital tumors, optic nerve gliomas, and more. Please have the child fully examined by a Pediatric Ophthalmologist. The most superlative one in the Bay area is Dr. William Good. He has offices in San Ramon, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco. If the child has any of these conditions, you have only a limited time to intervene before he could go blind or worse. If it proves to be nothing more than a cosmetic idiopathic ptosis, this is easily repaired if desired.

If you are so inclined, please post that you saw this posting. And, as an aside, general pediatricians have very little exposure to ophthalmology in both their medical school and residency training, so a consultation with a specialist is always ide

General Ophthalmologist Who Knows His Stuff

Toddler's red, swollen eyes

Feb 2002

My 2.5 year old daughter has, apparently, developed allergies recently. About two months ago she started rubbing her eyes now and then, and since then she has gotten more and more frantic about it, rubbing with both fists over and over again all day long. The result is two VERY swollen and red eyelids, dark circles under her eyes, and red blotches on her cheeks that last all day long. It looks terribly uncomfortable, and seems to be affecting her behavior, which is getting more and more punchy each day. She is acting and looking as if she hasn't slept in days, though she has. It's awful. Her doctors say it is textbook allergies, most likely to dust mites and pollen, and that there really isn't much we can do other than try to make her comfortable, and perhaps alleviate her symptoms with medication. Benadryl does nothing for her. We have tried eye drops, in particular Naphcon-A, which does nothing but scare the heck out of her when we try to give it to her. Just recently we started prescription Claritin syrup, and that too is doing nothing for her. We have also been washing her hands meticulously, vacuuming, dusting, replacing our heater filters, and basically trying to reduce our household irritants. Meanwhile, she is looking terrible, and having more and more difficulty enjoying her classes and play dates. This happens in our house, and out in the world, and at her school and gym. She is now asking to just stay home all the time. One minute she'll look OK, and the next minute her face is swollen, and her face looks as if she has been punched in each eye. We're starting to get a little desperate, and are wondering if anybody else has seen this kind of allergic symptom in their children before. If so, do you have any advice, or recommendations for specific medications, diets, herbal remedies, or otherwise?? We could use some help. Thank you! Anne

The doctor is probably going by what he sees in the office. It reads like there's more going on there than just the allergy and eye rubbing. This behavior may have evolved from an allergic reaction into a coping mechanism. You mentioned classes and play dates. Is the rubbing related to the transitions to and from activities outside the home? Transitions to and from the home can be stressful especially to a 2.5 year old. Try spreading the engagements out over time or eliminating them for a few weeks and see what happens. There may be other stressors, too. Make a note of when the eye rubbing commences. Does it happen right after vacuum cleaning? After certain foods are eaten? Parents coming and going? Is there a particular time of day when it's more prevalent? Gregg :^)
my advice is to not give up on the eyedrops. there are some prescription drops much better than naphcon-A. drops get right to the site of the problem rather than having to wait for medicine to work systemically. it is difficult to administer the drops to a toddler. maybe your eye doctor can coach you. you have to be fast. and you have to be persistent for them to work. once your daughter starts to feel relief she may be more accommodating to taking the drops. also try cool compresses (another toughie with a toddler). be patient because controlling allergies can be difficult. itching causes rubbing which causes inflammation which causes irritation which causes itching... it is a cycle. suzie
Medicine is a practice and sometimes you have to go through a lot of different medications until you find the right one. Your doctor should send her to an allergist to test her for allergies to find out exactly what is causing her to have such a reaction. If you can pinpoint it more closely, a more suitable drug could be found. Saying your daughter has textbook allergies and knowing exactly what those allergies are is two very different things. She could also be allergic to a food. Get her tested before you try anything else.

When I had the allergy tests, they would not stop with the grass tests. The redness continued to creep up my arm and they had to give me a shot of adrenaline to make it stop. Your daughter is very allergic to something and until you find out what it is, she will stay miserable and you along with her. Marianne

To make eyedrops easier to administer to a young child, try warming up the bottle in your hand or armpit for a few minutes first. Then it's not so shocking going it, and kids won't fight it so much. While my children never had the distressing allergies yours is suffering, it really helped when they had pink eye and needed drops several times per day. Lisa McL