I love what I do. Sometimes, it’s challenging, but it is always rewarding. Most patients don’t really understand what it is I do, or my training. I’d say 90% of the people out there don’t even know exactly what an ophthalmologist is!
So, here is summary – I am specialty trained in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus. This means, I am an eye surgeon as well as an eye doctor. After medical school, my husband and I both did internships and then proceeded on to our residencies in ophthalmology for 3 years where we learned how to perform eye surgery. I then went on to finish a fellowship in Boston in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus. These two are linked together since children often have strabismus, or misaligned eyes (eyes that point in different directions) and the training covers how to address this condition in both kids and adults, as well as other childhood eye diseases – glaucoma, congenital cataracts, blocked tear ducts. When I was on at Boston Children’s Hospital, I did more pediatric surgeries since there were several senior members of the department who who were expert in adult strabismus (which tends to be more complicated). However, when I moved to Hawaii, my surgical practice shifted and I started doing more of the more difficult adult strabismus cases. Both types of rewarding and below is a testimonial from an amazing patient who I had the privilege to meet when he was visiting Hawaii to take care of his sister. He is a firefighter from NY and hearing his NY accent definitely made me miss the 8 years I spent there. Crazy to think I’ve been living in Hawaii now almost as long as I lived in Manhattan!
Anyway, here’s a before/after picture of Ed:
One thing to note is that the procedure is NOT cosmetic surgery. It is covered by health insurance because it causes double vision in adults or poor vision in children. Even people who are blind in one eye and it’s wandering out – it is still covered under insurance. I’m so surprised when patients come to me and say “Doc, I’ve been going to an eye doctor for 30 years and they said nothing could be done for this” or “My eye doctor told me that medical insurance won’t pay for this surgery” If you take away one thing from this post, please let it be that strabismus surgery is not a cosmetic procedure and is covered!
Forgive the editing of the video below – it was my first attempt at using iMovie. And, the music that I dubbed in is actually Jeff, my husband, playing slack key guitar (he’s self-taught, very amazing!)
Strabismus surgery involves tightening or weakening the eye muscles to better align the eyes. I did the adjustable suture form of strabismus surgery for him. I do that for all of my adult patients. Basically, it allows me to fine tune the surgery after the patient has woken up from the general anesthesia. I can actually pull on long stitches connected to the eye muscle when the patient is awake and adjust the surgery further. Since pa. Strabismus surgery is a whole another post that I will get to next week, with some cool pictures!
It was a real honor and privilege that Ed trusted me enough to perform surgery on him when he was out here visiting Hawaii. I truly enjoyed working with him and I’m so glad he finally had the surgery done.