We get this question about Lola quite frequently. Blindness is a funny thing. It has many varying degrees. I’ve found the average person, myself included before having Lola, thinks blindness equals darkness and fumbling around. That type of blindness does exist, but blindness in general comes in many forms. People who are considered blind under definition of the law can often see certain colors, light, outlines etc. Lola specifically can see all colors, light and outlines. Because her corneas are opaque light cannot fully pass through to allow full vision. She sees life through a giant cloud. Nothing is remotely clear but she uses her light and color sensing ability to navigate in a way that astounds me.
Is there anything we can do to improve her vision? Not really. There is a very risky option, a cornea transplant, that we are not going to pursue. After consulting with two wonderful eye institutes we felt that the risk of losing her vision completely was not something we felt even remotely comfortable with. Also reading countless online testimonies of parents who attempted this surgery with little success made our decision even easier to make.
Why does Lola wear glasses? Lola’s glasses have transition lenses, the lens becomes darker when she goes into the light. Lola’s eyes are VERY sensitive to light and the transition lens protects her eye and makes going outside much more comfortable. Lola’s eyes are also somewhat fragile, getting poked in the eye with a pencil for example could cause serious injury and compromise the little “sight” she has. All eyes are fragile but Lola’s eyes have a higher risk of bleeding out. Her glasses do have a slight magnification. This is a trial and error type thing. We are testing this to see if it helps with any up close work in the school environment. Upon observation it seems to be doing something positive! We’ll see!
Lola is adjusting quite well, even with her vision needs. She navigates incredibly well in familiar settings. However, new places and experiences present extreme challenges for her and she often falls or bumps her legs into things. When we are home, I often forget that she is visually impaired. She runs around the house like a crazy person. We are working with Lola’s school and teachers to help Lola equip herself with the skills to navigate independently and learn at the same level and pace as her sighted peers. She is quite the little smarty pants. Her knowledge base has gone from zero to a pre- kindergarten level in 3 months. It’s amazing to watch her soak up and speak English. She now listens to books and answers meaningful questions. It’s astounding. When the days are hard and emotions are high I find myself retracing the last four months of progress. It’s amazing, mind boggling, and super-natural the way God is healing her brain and heart. I once wrote that I believed God would work a miracle for Lola. We are living that miracle.