Analeigha is the sweetest little baby girl from Oregon with a smile that lights up the room

Analeigha is the sweetest little baby girl from Oregon with a smile that lights up the room. Today, you’d probably never guess that was a patient of the Little Baby Face Foundation, but Analeigha started out her life with a hemangioma on her eye that grew to threaten her vision.

At birth, Analeigha’s mom noticed a small red dot on her eye that looked almost like a pimple. She was told it was a stye and to put a warm washcloth on it, but the small bump continued to grow until it covered her eye and it was clear to her parents that this was something that needed further medical attention. Three doctors later, they finally had a diagnosis: a capillary hemangioma.

Hemangiomas are often harmless and do not require treatment, but in some cases, like Analeigha’s, the hemangioma is in a place on the body that makes surgical removal necessary. To learn more about hemangiomas, how to recognize them, and how they are treated, read our article All About Hemangiomas.

A dermatologist and ophthalmologist tried a steroid shot, but Analeigha’s hemangioma continued to grow rapidly. At a children’s hospital, Analeigha was given medications to treat her hemangioma. One made her incredibly sick and needed to be immediately discontinued, and the other stopped the growth but did not shrink it.

Analeigha’s hemangioma had begun to threaten her vision, and immediate intervention was necessary and urgent. Her parents found the Vascular Birthmark Institute online and learned about the Little Baby Face Foundation there through Dr. Milton Waner and Dr. Theresa O. One of their biggest concerns, after Analeigha’s health of course, was that they may not be able to afford treatment. It was a huge relief to know that not only was Analeigha in the best hands, but also that they would not have to worry about the financial burden of her care.

The biggest question for us all was if she would be able to see in her affected eye once the hemangioma was removed. Analeigha’s hemangioma had been covering her eye for the past 3-4 months, and since the brain at this age is still developing eyesight, it was essential for Analeigha to keep using her affected eye (right eye) whenever possible. Sometimes, she would wear a patch on the left eye to force the right eye to work and exercise.

We flew Analeigha and her mother to New York City as quickly as possible after we received their application, as time was of the essence to save vision in her affected eye. They met with some of our physicians and prepared for surgery with remarkable courage. Analeigha’s surgery went very well, and within weeks as she began to heal, it became clear how transformative this surgery was for her in every sense. She was sitting up more, trying to crawl, and was overall more aware of her surroundings. She really seemed happier.

Our doctors mentioned prior to surgery that her eyelid may be a bit stretched out due to the size of the hemangioma, and in that case a second surgery would be necessary, but they are very pleased to see that one month later, you’d almost never know that she had surgery on her eye. At her post-op exam, Dr. Waner expressed that Analeigha’s eyelid looks normal and nearly symmetrical to her unaffected eye. Time will tell for sure, but from what we are seeing now, we believe that she will not need another surgery to remove excess skin on her eyelid.

Dr. Ceisler, one of our ophthamologists recently examined Analeigha’s vision at her one-month post-op visit, and was relieved to discover that her eyesight has much improved! It is like night and day. She is able to follow objects well with her eyes. Her astigmatism, which she developed due to the pressure of the hemangioma, has also improved, and now falls within a normal range. Analeigha will still need to continue patching her opposite eye for about 45 minutes a day to give her weaker eye a chance to catch up. Dr. Waner said he considers it a miracle that Analeigha’s eyesight was not lost due to the hemangioma. We are all feeling very relieved and grateful!

Now settled into her new home in Kentucky after a cross-country move, Analeigha and her family are doing very well. Analeigha is thriving, meeting milestone after milestone and delighting in observing her surroundings, especially bright colors, which she loves. Her vision continues to improve. We asked Deanna, Analeigha’s mother, what her advice would be to parents of a child born with a facial birth defect. Her answer: don’t be discouraged. Keep researching, keep reaching out, and keep trying to find the best help for your child.

If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child born with a facial birth defect, we welcome you to visit our applications page to learn more about what facial birth defects we treat and the application criteria. You’ll also find a form you can fill out to apply for treatment at the Little Baby Face Foundation.

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