November 2019: Prematurity Awareness Month
“Vision Therapy affected our family in two ways; most importantly, it helped the girls to see better. Secondly, it helped me understand what was going on with my girls’ vision.” ~ Stacy, Mom of twins, Ashlyn & Aubrey
Dear Patients, Colleagues, and Friends,
As always, thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. We would like to introduce you to our favorite set of twins. Now twelve (almost teens…OH MY!), Ashlyn and Aubrey have been patients of ours for many years. It’s been an absolute pleasure watching them blossom into confident young women at home, at school, and on horseback!
Their story begins in the NICU, like 60% of twins. After having been born thirteen weeks early, they spent eleven weeks under hospital care.
November hosts an important topic: Prematurity Awareness Month.
We are especially interested in understanding that the most rapid growth of our eyes happens in the last twelve weeks of pregnancy. Experts agree that an early delivery interrupts this later and crucial growth. As a Behavioral Optometry office, we see children all the time who are struggling in school because their vision did not develop properly due to being born premature.
Unfortunately, preterm births are on the rise for the third year in a row. In the United States, 1 out of every 10 babies are born prematurely. Babies born under three pounds or before thirty seven weeks are classified as premature. One of the most common complications for a preemie’s eyes is Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), or abnormal blood vessel development in the retina of the eye. Children who’ve been diagnosed with ROP are more likely to have other problems later on including myopia (nearsightedness), strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Fortunately, at Semenza Behavioral Optometry, we are able to help with vision therapy.
Now back to the twins’ touching journey! Stacy, their mother, was concerned when Ashlyn reported having a headache after school several times a week. She was, also, bumping into things around the house. Both girls were using their finger a majority of the time when reading, and still, they were both skipping and/or reversing words while holding their reading material too close. Aubrey was also tilting her head to compensate for her visual challenges.
Stacy writes: “I began to notice vision difficulties with my twin daughters,
Ashlyn and Aubrey, starting in third grade. They both had glasses that helped, but were definitely not all they needed. Before vision therapy the girls would tip things over as they reached for them. They were exhausted by the end of a school day.” She continues by writing, “Vision therapy affected our family in two ways. Most importantly, it helped the girls to see better and understand how they were supposed to see. Secondly, it helped me to understand what was going on with my girls’ vision. I was given so much information and with that knowledge, it gave me patience when working on school assignments or just general day to day situations such as spilling drinks or knocking things over.”
With such gratitude, we just beam when reading the following compliments from Stacy. “Dr. Semenza was a huge part in setting up a schedule for school that allowed the girls to be successful with setting up breaks and changing the font size of their work. I cannot say enough about everyone in this office. They are so willing to answer questions, and they make things fun for the children. My girls looked at everyone in the office as a friend and were excited to show the progress they were making. They were always comfortable enough to ask any questions that they had during sessions.”
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Drs. Christine & Thomas Semenza and The Vision Therapy Team