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  • Mom Says Daughter's Eye Surgery Could Have Been Prevented By Handwashing

    The doctor removed 11 sties in total from the toddler's eyes, including 6 that had already burst.
    by Kitty Elicay . Published Jan 3, 2020
Mom Says Daughter's Eye Surgery Could Have Been Prevented By Handwashing
PHOTO BY courtesy of Melody Rancap
  • Kids (and their parents) often overlook making handwashing a habit but one mom is stressing its importance after her toddler ended up needing an eye surgery after sties formed in both her eyes.

    In October 2019, Melody Rancap’s 2-year-old daughter, Peyton, woke up with a swollen left eye. The parents thought it was a “kuliti,” or stye, but since their pediatrician was out of the country for the holidays, they decided a check-up could wait.

    “We didn’t want to go to another pedia that time because we trusted our doctor more than anyone else and preferred that she checked Peyton’s condition first,” Melody tells SmartParenting.com.ph.

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    Melody Rancap, 34, with her 2-year-old daughter, Peyton, and her husband, Charlon, 29.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Melody Rancap

    Nine days later, Peyton’s pedia diagnosed the little girl to have a stye, which is a red, painful lump near the edge of the eyelid that may look like a boil or pimple and is often filled with pus. Peyton’s doctor shared it may have been caused by Peyton rubbing her eyes with dirty or unwashed hands during sleep or while playing.

    Their daughter was prescribed with antibiotics and ointment for seven days. They also needed to apply a warm compress to her eye “para lumabas ‘yung nana” and keep it from spreading to the other eye.

    Melody shares that they followed the doctor’s advice, but struggled a bit with applying the ointment and warm compress. However, they did not see any improvement after a week and her right eye had started to swell, too.

    Melody and her husband, Charlon, went for a second opinion upon the recommendation of Melody’s mother. The new pediatrician still diagnosed Peyton with a stye and changed the ointment she was using. She was also prescribed with oral medication, this time to prevent her from undergoing eye surgery. The couple did as they were advised and waited for another five days.

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    The infection spreads

    In a month, Peyton's sties spread and infected both her upper and lower eyelids.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Melody Rancap

    Despite the prescribed treatment, Peyton’s situation got worse. The stye spread to her lower eyelids and she was immediately admitted to the hospital, with her first pediatrician consulting a pediatric ophthalmologist for assistance. That’s when the doctor said she needed surgery as soon as possible. “She said that all medications given were correct but it just didn’t take effect. The pus spread to both eyes because the stye did not pop,” the mom explains.

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    Melody and Charlon could not believe the diagnosis. “We were like, ‘yun lang?’ Parang imposible,” Melody shares. “It made us feel like we were too complacent with our daughter’s hygiene and cleanliness. We were certain that we didn’t have any shortcomings when it came to keeping her hands clean. But we learned to accept that we were not perfect parents — we couldn’t monitor Peyton 24/7 because we had work, too.”

    The surgery lasted for an hour, with Peyton asleep the whole time. According to Melody, the pedia scraped off the sties found in her eyes — there were 11 sties plus 6 more that had already burst. The little girl had to have stitches after, but thankfully, it was not so visible.

    “We saw her inside the recovery room awake and crying. There were still droplets of blood coming from her lower eyelid which were swollen and fresh from the operation,” Melody shares. “I carried her, trying to be strong, and said, ‘Peyt, dito na si Mommy. Magaling na eyes mo. I love you.’”


    Peyton recovered for a week, and her parents had to apply cold compress and ointment on her eyes. This time they were extra vigilant. “Kahit umiyak siya ok lang, basta malagyan ng mabuti,” Melody notes.

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    Lessons learned

    This is Peyton after her surgery. She had to get stitches in her eyes which were thankfully not visible.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Melody Rancap

    Melody and Charlon admit that they first thought the condition was “mababaw lang,” but the two have now learned they can never compromise or procrastinate when it comes to their babies.

    “Always use that ‘parent’s instinct’ so you can be more assertive in dealing with whatever situation that doesn’t seem normal. As a first-time mom, I realized na mas mabuti na maging OC ka sa anak mo than having so many regrets in the end,” Melody shares.

    She also learned to trust doctors a hundred percent. “One mistake we did was we didn’t continue with the final antibiotics the optha pedia prescribed before her operation (the operation got delayed for a week and she had to take medicine again). We thought ‘baka masobrahan na siya sa antibiotic at makasama na sa kanya.’ It turns out, if we only followed the doctor’s advice then there would be lesser pain on Peyton’s end,” Melody explains. “The doctor told us, ‘Now I know bakit sobrang maga at biglang dumami. I know what your previous pedias prescribed her (Peyton) and I wouldn’t do the same thing if I know na makakasama sa kanya.’”


    To this Melody says, “Yes, we have parent’s instinct, but we should also use it wisely.”

    Lastly, Melody has learned to not underestimate the importance of making handwashing a habit. “Something as simple as washing the hands can prevent conditions like Peyton’s,” she shares.

    In fact, after her ordeal, her toddler has become more conscious of hygiene. “Sometimes she’s the one to remind me to wash her hands and she wants to stay clean all the time,” Melody says.

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