BARDONIA, N.Y., Aug. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For any patient, eye surgery can be daunting, but when the prospective patient is a toddler, or even an infant, an ophthalmologist must ease the fears of the whole family. Rockland Eye Physicians' Dr. Jeffrey Leen, a leading New York (NY) pediatric and strabismus surgeon, has performed thousands of surgeries for patients of all ages, successfully meeting the needs of young patients and their parents. Strabismus, a condition in which the eye drifts or appears "lazy," is characterized by a person's inability to focus both eyes in the same direction at the same time.
"Working in pediatric ophthalmology, and with strabismus cases in particular, I must pay careful attention not only to the needs of the patient, but to the concerns of their parents as well," stated Dr. Leen. "In a sense, the parents become the patients. They are very nervous about things like general anesthesia, who will actually be performing the surgery and the quality of the facility where the operation will take place. They need to know their children are safe." If left untreated in children, strabismus can cause long-term vision impairment. "It's important to allay parents' fears about the surgery so they feel comfortable enough to move forward and give their child the visual foundation they need to develop and learn."
Dr. Leen continued by sharing some of the most common concerns held by parents of children with strabismus, the steps he takes to assuage them, and his thoughts on strabismus surgery in New York's (NY) Nyack Hospital. Parents are often concerned about how their child will handle the typical rigors of surgery. "How long is the procedure, how long will recovery take, will they need stitches, what will they look like after the surgery, when can they go back to school, play with their friends, play sports, all of these things. I'm a father and I understand these worries," empathizes Leen.
For each of these concerns, Dr. Leen has answers. By his account, strabismus surgery is an in-and-out affair. Most children have the procedure done in the morning and are released by early afternoon. General anesthesia is used so the patient experiences no pain or discomfort. The stitches used in the surgery are dissolvable, eliminating the need for a follow up procedure. In terms of post-operative pain and recovery time, children often handle these factors better than adults due to the resilience of their young bodies, according to Dr. Leen. "Generally the children recuperate very well," assures the doctor, continuing on to say, "They typically do not require any pain medication beyond children's acetaminophen. They don't need narcotics like adults do and will typically only be in discomfort for one or two days. By the third or fourth day, they are back to their routine."
"Perhaps above all other things, parents wish to know that their child is in good hands and will feel at ease with the surgical team," said Dr. Leen, who performs all of the surgeries himself, without the use of medical students or residents. Location also plays a significant role in parents' level of comfort. "I choose Nyack Hospital because they perform a high volume of pediatric surgeries compared to other facilities in this area. The nurses and anesthesiologists are not only highly experienced in caring for children, but they truly enjoy the unique challenges it presents."
Dr. Leen does caution that even in the best hands, strabismus surgery is not always a "slam dunk." Since each patient responds differently to the surgery, under corrections and over corrections can and do occur. However, he believes the likelihood of success is improved with his high level of experience and careful pre-operative preparation. "I attribute my success to methodical work-ups and meticulous pre-operative measurements. By having the patient return several times and at different times of the day, I can take into account eye movement fluctuations that occur from varying levels of fatigue and cooperation. Since children are not always attentive during office visits, multiple measurements provide more comprehensive information for quality surgical planning."
Every surgery has certain risks, however these risks can be minimized with proper planning, proper patient selection and conveying realistic expectations. Key to overall success is good communication between the patient, the parents and the surgeon. Dr. Leen believes that taking time to address all of the questions and concerns a family has is the best way to ensure a successful result and a satisfied clientele.
About Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons
The practice has been serving the New York Metropolitan Area, in particular Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties, for over 40 years with offices in both Bardonia and Garnerville. Rockland Eye provides a wide range of general ophthalmic services and treatments for people of all ages including contact lenses, glaucoma screening and treatment, ReSTOR multifocal IOL, LASIK/refractive surgery, digital retina imaging, no-stitch cataract surgery, and strabismus treatment and other surgical procedures. More information about the practice can be found on its website, www.rocklandeye.com.
Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons, PC
365 Route 304
Bardonia, New York 10954
171 Ramapo Road
Garnerville, New York 10923