If a child is born without eyes (anopthalmic), then socket expansion is recommended. An expander is put into the socket, which gradually expands, creating space in the tissue to enable a false eye to be fitted at a later age. The more important aspect, according to our doctors, was the role of the expander in helping the face grow symmetrically. After several failed attempts in socket expansion (leading to no less than 7 general anaesthetics in Ronan’s first year!), we were desperate for other alternatives.
The doctors continued to highlight to us that our child would be disfigured if we did not do socket expansion. Eventually Ronan lost his sight in the other eye and it closed. At this point, socket expansion became pointless for having a false eye and the doctors then tried to reassure us that perhaps the disfigurement would not be too much as his one eye was small.
At about the time that we stopped all of these surgeries, we started Cranial Osteopathy. This a very gentle form of osteopathy that adjusts the sacrum and the cranial bones to enable balance in the body. It is often used with babies who have colic. The baby lies on the table and the practitioner gently (almost imperceptibly) manipulates the spine.
The results with Ronan were fantastic in terms of improving his posture, which was very hunched. In passing, the practitioner mentioned that he could help keep the face symmetric. I did not believe him.
Ronan went through a massive growth spurt just after turning two and his face became misaligned. I panicked – perhaps the doctors were right! Two visits to the Cranial Osteopath did indeed bring symmetry back to Ronan’s face. He has continued to attend and his face has remained symmetric as Ronan approaches 3.5 years old.
I do wish I had known in Ronan’s first year that there was an alternative to surgery. Eye sockets can always be created later (or dark glasses worn) if the face is symmetric.