Last Friday Thomas has a VEP (Visual Evoked Potential) Test done at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. This test shows if the brain is responding to visual stimuli. They placed several electrodes on the back of Tom's head to measure his brain activity while he looked at a flashing light and a screen with black and white or colored boxes.
I am so glad my husband could join us for this test because I needed the help! We had to rest Tom's chin of the edge of a special box that had a flashing light inside. My husband held Thomas up and kept his head in the box while I held Tom's hands to make sure he did not rip off the electrodes or held his upper eyelid to make sure his eye was open. One eye was patched for each round so they could test each eye independently. Every time Tom cried the test stopped recording data so it was a VERY LONG test for us. He cried a lot. We played music but eventually found that singing the ABC's was what comforted him the most that day. Tom didn't nap that day so by the time the testing was almost over he actually fell asleep. All of that crying on top of a very long day just wore him out. When Tom fell asleep the test had to end. I did not have high hopes that anything had been accomplished during this test. It was hard to tell if Tom's eyes were open and even when I was holding his eyes open I wasn't sure how much I was helping. I was worried that we may have to do this test all over again.
The iPad makes waiting rooms a lot more fun.
Yesterday we saw his pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Nischal, and found that the test did show some brain activity. His eyes are actually responding to light just like we thought and hoped! I was very worried that Tom's glaucoma troubles had compromised his light perception but he still seems to have it. He has only had his contacts in for a couple weeks now and already we see a difference in him. His eyes are more open and he is holding his head up better. Since he went several months without contacts I think it will take him a while to get used to having them again.
When the brain gets strange information from the eyes it can learn to turn them off and ignore information the eye is sending. This is called amblyopia and you can read more about it here . I was worried that Tom's brain may have begun to ignore information from his eyes but it seems like that is not the case here.