Harry had an appointment with his eye doctor on Tuesday. We were all pretty sure he'd need a cornea reshaping surgery and had mentally prepared ourselves for that. His regular eye doctor examined him first and said that the left eye looked like it had made some improvements. The dryness problem had been resolved, thanks to the near constant eye drop application regimen we'd had Harry on. There was also a very slight improvement in his left eye vision. Nowhere near where it needs to be to actually be considered functioning, but still very encouraging since we hadn't seen any improvements for a really long time.
The cornea specialist then came to examine him and to determine the course of treatment. Much to my (and, I think, the doctor's) surprise, the specialist does not want to pursue surgery at this time. He said his concerns were that it could cause even more scarring that would further impede his vision and that since Harry is still growing, reshaping his four-year-old cornea could cause problems when he is fully grown if the shape of his eye should change. Instead, Harry will begin wearing a soft contact with a harder, gas permeable contact over it, on his left eye for the next ten to fifteen years. (You read that correctly. Ten to fifteen years. I'm sure I annoyed the cornea specialist by repeating it over and over. "How long? Ten to fifteen years? Ten to fifteen years?") At the end of the ten to fifteen years, he will likely get the surgery we had been anticipating. While I understand, and even agree with, his reservations for doing surgery, this is going to present Harry with a whole new set of challenges. Namely, he is going to hate Cory and I putting the hard contact in and taking it out each day. It is supposed to be "a little uncomfortable." I really can't see this going well. Also, any other time he's worn a bandage contact lens, he's rubbed it out of his eye on the walk from the doctor's office to the parking garage. I'm kind of anticipating having to tell his doctor that we've lost thirty lenses already. His is supposed to sleep in the soft lens, which I think will make it a lot more likely that he will rub the lens out. He'll wear the soft lens for two to three months at a time and will need antibiotic drops four times a day to prevent infection. He will also need moisturizing drops throughout the day to keep his eye from getting too dry. For ten to fifteen years. And, he's not supposed to swim for the next ten to fifteen years. (I forsee us breaking this rule. "I'm taking Jack and Addie to the pool. Harry, you can look forward to that in college." Probably not.)
Harry has an appointment next week to be fitted for the lenses. Assuming that goes well, he'll begin treatments to retrain his left eye to see, probably by dilating the right eye, in February. Please pray that he responds well to all of this and that it will work. During all of this, we have known that the recovery time was in the span of years, but we weren't anticipating it to be that long. Right now, thinking about dealing with this in ten plus years is hard to wrap our minds around. Please pray for our family as we adjust to this new normal.