Better To See You: Ryder's Story

The story of a mother determined to help her son can be a powerful love story.

Amarillo mom Lindsey Stiner lives out the story day in and day out, but recently experienced a chapter that will change the course of her son's life.

Seeing life through the eyes of a child has a different meaning for 3-year-old Ryder Stiner, who was born with ocular albinism, a genetic condition that reduces the pigmentation of the iris and the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

Pigmentation in the eye is essential for normal vision.

The condition also causes nystagmus, involuntary rapid movement of the eye.

"Doctors always told me at best he'd be legally blind," Lindsey Stiner said. "He really turns his head – even watching TV, he turns his head like this to watch."

"He can't verbalize to me what's going. It's just a guessing game," she added.

She calls it a lonely diagnosis.

"There's not a lot of awareness out there. There's not a lot of research," Lindsey Stiner said. "As a parent, I think, 'Am I doing enough? Is today the day that I didn't rise up and do what he needed me to do?'"

Her love, however, kept her determined.

"He was diagnosed when he was two months, and the biggest thing I wanted was for him to really see my face," she said.

Her dreams came true a few weeks ago, when after years of research, she found a pair of specialized glasses that would dramatically increase Ryder's vision.

She recorded the moment when Ryder put on the glasses and saw his mother's face for the time.

"I finally got to ask him if he could see my face, and when he said that the could see the black part of my eyes, it melted me. I've waited a couple years to hear that," the mother said.

Lindsey Stiner posted it on social media, and it's been shared thousands of times.

"It's a beautiful thing to see, especially since on the day he was diagnosed, I didn't know what his life would be like, and to see him now," she said.

It's a big step in their journey, but for Ryder, it's about being a 3-year-old boy.

He can now see many of his toys in full detail and can enjoy the playground without struggling to maneuver around the equipment.

"I just see a kid that's so full of life! That's not letting his disability define him," Lindsey Stiner said.

The family is traveling to Fort Worth for the next part in their journey.

Ryder will undergo surgery at Cook Children's Medical Center to correct the placement of his eyes, so he doesn't have to turn his neck to focus on objects.

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