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Case study 12

Take home message:
The problem with parents being overly emotional is that the child begins to feel guilty about causing them so much distress.

Background:
Natahlie Owen is a bright and happy 3 year old. She lives on a farm. One morning a rooster flew at the apple Natalhlie was eating but pecked at her right eye instead. This unfortunate incident resulted in Natahlie losing her eye 8 months later.

Review of prosthesis and socket:
Natahlie was referred to Keith Pine a few weeks after her eye was enucleated. She and her parents were unsure of what to expect – especially taking the impression of the eye socket. (click here to see video)

After this was explained Natahlie’s Mum asked: How do parents best support their children when they lose an eye?

There are many different answers to this question depending on a wide range of different circumstances. However, one thing parents should not do is to let their emotions get in the way of providing positive support for their child. The loss of an eye is terrible but it is important to know that many thousands of people with artificial eyes live highly successful lives. The problem with being overly emotional is that the child will feel guilty about putting his or her parents through so much pain.

Fortunately for Nathalie, her parents have an open and honest relationship with her and are positive about her future.

Treatment:
An artificial eye was constructed from an impression of Nathalie’s eye socket. She was a brave little girl throughout the process and was absolutely delighted when she saw herself in the mirror at the final fitting. A new prosthesis will need to be replaced every 2 or 3 years to keep pace with Natahlie’s growth (replacement artificial eyes are fully funding by the Ministry of Health). It will be a pleasure watching Nathalie grow up and make her way in life – she is a positive little girl with wonderfully supportive parents.

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