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Highlights: NYEE Launches World Orthoptics Day

(New York, NY - June 2013) -- New York Eye and Ear Infirmary's Pediatric Ophthalmology / Orthoptics/ Adult Strabismus Service serves joins with the International Orthoptic Association (IOA) to observe “World Orthoptic Day” as a way of increasing awareness of the profession and how orthoptists work to improve the vision of children - and indeed -- patients of all ages. Due to the large number of patients it serves and importance of Orthoptics to patient care and resident education at NYEE - it is being extended to World Orthoptics Week (WOW)!

What is Orthoptics?

The term Orthoptics is a combination of two Greek words: Ortho =straight and optikos = vision. Orthoptics is a certified health profession that deals with the study of eye movements. Orthoptists are eye muscle specialists who evaluate vision and eye alignment using specialized examination techniques and participate with opththalmologists in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of patients with misaligned eyes and decreased vision. They work primarily with infants and children, but with a significant number or adults as well.

An orthoptist obtains measurements of eye position, assesses double vision, evaluates and diagnoses strabismus and amblyopia, manages non surgical treatment for those conditions, and does patient education and treatment.

NYEE's Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology/ Orthoptics/ Adult Strabismus

The main purpose is to deliver eye care to children from birth through their teen years. The department also cares for adults with strabismus, binocular vision disorders and double vision.

Strabismus and amblyopia are the most prevalent problems treated in the pediatric population, but other ophthalmic diseases requiring care in children are: congenital and acquired cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease and corneal pathology. These all potentially effect vision and binocularity in these young patients whose visual system is still growing and developing.

The close monitoring of these young patients and the specialized care necessary makes the work quite rewarding in addition to being more complicated and labor intensive. Comprehensive treatment can include pediatric visual fields and pediatric low vision.

In adults, binocular vision problems (problems seeing with both eyes) present with a different set of problems related to acquired ophthalmic issues. The Adult Strabismus aspect of the department evaluates and treats adult patients with diplopia as related to strabismus. Binocular/sensory problems (diplopia) caused by systemic and neurological problems are also very prevalent in the aging adult population. Evaluating and treating adults with diplopia is another aspect of an orthoptist's work to improve the quality of life for the older population.

Patients are referred, not just from NYEE's own eye services, but also directly from private physicians' offices and several social service agencies. The advanced training of the hospital's Orthoptists/Ophthalmic Technologists allows the department to provide specialized evaluations and treatments related to these binocular sensory problems. The department also performs low vision evaluations for adults, and offer color vision testing especially aimed toward civil service employees along with other ophthalmic problems that cause color vision disabilities.

NYEE's Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology/ Strabismus/ Adult Orthoptics treats more than 5,700 patients a year, including 25 cataract operations on babies.

Special Services in a Specialty Hospital

The department continues taking a more aggressive role with infants with congenital cataracts, corneal problems and the care of pediatric trauma patients. The pediatric retina department is growing to address the needs of babies and children with ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity). A Pediatric Art Therapy Program has been recognized as a such a valuable and unique feature it received ongoing private funding and has been expanded. Serving children with severe visual problems such as pediatric cataracts, glaucoma, and amblyopia, the program engages visually impaired children in art and challenges them through visually stimulating and age appropriate creative experiences. Art therapy provides children a creative way to express emotions concerning their visual problems.

The department has had international observers and students, as well as an agreement with St.Kates College in Minnesota as a clinical site.

Pediatric Ophthalmology Faculty

Lisabeth S. Hall, MD, Director
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology,
New York Medical College (NYMC)

Steven Rosenberg, MD, Assistant Director
Associate Professor, NYMC

Sara Shippman CO, COMT
Director, Orthoptics
Associate Professor NYMC

Larisa Heiser CO, COMT
Assistant Director of Orthoptics
Assistant Professor NYMC

Rita Mendy CO
Assistant Professor NYMC

Administrative Staff
Janet Perez ,Secretary, L. Mendez, Secretary

Attending Surgeons
Brian Campolattaro, MD
Kenneth Cohen, MD 
John Flanagan, MD
Mark Lustig, MD
Harvey Rosenblum, MD
Frederick Wang, MD
H Jay Wisnicki, MD

E. Alfonso Ponce, MD, Retina
Paul A. Sidoti, MD, Glaucoma


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