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Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

Spotlight on Ophthalmology

Find out WHAT'S NEW in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at SickKids

THE ARTFUL EYE:  An up-close look at the art and science of ophthalmic photography at SickKids

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the pictures taken by medical imaging specialists in the Department of Ophthalmology at SickKids convey much more than artistic expression. These pictures provide answers; answers about the diseases and conditions affecting the eyes of our patients.

Working in Ophthalmology, medical imaging specialists bring together art and science through clinical photography of the eye. This involves taking photos of every corner of the eye, from the surface of the cornea all the way into the depths of the retina. Most of their time is spent in the Eye Clinic, but they also visit operating rooms and various inpatient units across the hospital to perform their craft; using 14 to 15 different cameras specific to the condition and the age of the patient they are photographing.

Read more on the SickKids Newsroom



Drs. Brenda Gallie and Shaf Keshavjee have been named Member and Officer, respectively, of the Order of Canada. The announcement was made Dec. 26, 2014. They will receive their insignia at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa at a later date.

Dr. Gallie, Head of the Retinoblastoma Program in The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)  Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, is being recognized for her significant contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the childhood eye cancer, retinoblastoma. Her research has resulted in a highly efficient and sensitive test for retinoblastoma gene mutations and recognition of a new genetic form of retinoblastoma.

Along with her colleague at SickKids, Dr. Helen Chan, Dr. Gallie developed a chemotherapy modification avoiding multidrug resistance that is being tested in an international clinical trial.

Story by Samantha Sexton - Read more on the SickKids Newsroom



Minimally-invasive nerve transplant solves an “unsolvable” problem

Experts at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have pioneered a novel surgery that restores lost feeling in the eye by transplanting a nerve graft from the patient’s own leg into their eye. This innovative technique, called corneal neurotization, is a new approach to a medical problem that until now had no good solution.

Abby Messner, 18, was the first patient to undergo the surgery in November 2012. She lost feeling her in left eye, a rare condition called corneal anaesthesia, at the age of 11 after having a brain tumour removed. Because she had no sensation in her left eye, she could not feel pain when the eye was injured or infected. This condition also prevents normal healing from occurring. Without the ability to feel pain, the eye cannot shield itself from elements most people encounter without issue on a daily basis – like dust, microscopic debris and even the wind – so the eye develops scratches, scars and infections that can eventually cause blindness. With potential hazards everywhere, Abby had to quit competitive sports and limit everyday activities like spending time outdoors or walking through the mall with her friends.

“Corneal anaesthesia not only threatens vision, but is also a huge medical, social and economic burden to the patient,” says Dr. Asim Ali, Staff Surgeon in Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at SickKids. “Over the years, I have had to watch patients’ eye health progressively decline, offering short-term therapies that could only treat some of the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. This new technique is the first real opportunity to permanently prevent progression of the disease and may even reverse its effects.”

View video and read more on SickKids.ca, featuring Ophthalmologist Dr. Ali and Plastic Surgeons Drs. Zuker and Borschel



Dr. Nasrin Tehrani, Ophthalmologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), has introduced tele-medicine in the fight against a serious eye disease that can affect infants – retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

She describes her work in an article, using tele-medicine to screen for retinopathy of prematurity, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in September 2014. For Tehrani, the article marks a path of progress that started in 2005 when she joined SickKids.

“When I first started at SickKids, the main obstacle to providing timely care for infants in remote locations was access to care. Some of these children were in ICUs far away from Toronto, and many of them were in places where there were no ophthalmologists who could screen for retinopathy of prematurity.”

Retinopathy of prematurity is a vascular proliferative disease of the retina affecting premature infants. Babies born weighing less than 1250 grams or under 30 weeks of gestation are routinely screened for the disease. Without proactive treatment, severe ROP can result in retinal detachment and permanent loss of vision.

Read more on SickKids.ca - featuring Dr. Tehrani