I’ve always assumed that any child of mine would need glasses. I come from a long line of people with “bad” eyesight. Add in the amount of time I spend on a computer or reading, and my prescription has been consistently upgraded year over year. Plus a family history of glaucoma and high eye pressure? You’ve got an ophthalmologist’s dream.
What I didn’t expect was for my daughter to be born with a cyst in her left eye. As scary as that sounds, it brought to the forefront the importance of eye health. Before she was even two weeks old, she’d had the first of what will be a series of ophthalmology appointments. Since January is both National Birth Defects Awareness Month and Eye Care Month, what better time to share our story!
Eliza was born with a cystic dermoid choristoma, a relatively common and benign growth characterized by a cluster of cells developing, quite simply, where it doesn’t belong. These growths are most commonly found around hairlines and eyebrows, often indistinguishable until much later in life when the cyst grows or shifts. My brother even had one on the bridge of his nose that later had to be removed. Thanks, genetics!
In Eliza’s case, a piece of skin grew on the lower quadrant of her left eye. It is slightly raised and while very pale, can be distinguished from the white of her eye, especially as it “cuts into” her baby blues.
Luckily, despite its unique placement, Eliza’s cyst hasn’t moved or grown since birth. Twice a year, we meet with a pediatric ophthalmologist to ensure nothing has changed. We are incredibly lucky this congenital glitch doesn’t impact her vision and best of all, doesn’t cause her any pain.
And armed with knowledge from our amazing pediatric practice and the expertise of our eye specialist, I know that Eliza will get the best care possible. We will go every six months, check in, and breathe a sigh of relief. And if the day comes that her cyst needs to be removed, we’ll figure that out, too. No need to borrow worry from a future that may never come.
A Sigh of Relief and a Plan for Tomorrow
So for now, we happily engage in the questions and concerns of our friends and family. Yes, sometimes overeager strangers notice there is something “in” her eye. Eliza will learn in due time that this small dot on her eye makes her different, but it makes her special, too. I hope as she gets older, she will answer questions with grace and humor. But most importantly, she’ll know a small cluster of misplaced cells doesn’t change who she is.