Author: Kat J. McAlpine

A film called ‘Squint’ will open your eyes to the power of strabismus surgery

The film "Squint" follows six patients who undergo strabismus surgery.
The short film “Squint” follows six patients who undergo strabismus surgery with Dr. David Hunter of Boston Children’s Hospital. Click here to watch on YouTube.

When Dr. Bernard Dib was medical student, he was struck by the impact that Dr. David Hunter had on patients who visited him for strabismus (crossed eye) surgery.

“I saw people from all over the world thanking him for changing their lives,” Dib says, who rotated electively into Hunter’s clinic as part of his medical school program. “Adults would say that they had a crossed eye for years and their doctors hadn’t ever said that surgery was an option for them.”

Hunter, who is ophthalmologist-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, is not only an expert at performing surgery to correct crossed eyes in children but also in adults. …Read More

How to help an adolescent who is using cannabis

A greenhouse where cannabis plants are grown legally.
A greenhouse where cannabis plants are grown legally.

Over recent years, big shifts in the marijuana landscape have made it easier than ever for American teens to be exposed to cannabis and to have the opportunity to use it.

Currently, only six states consider all forms of cannabis use to be illegal. Meanwhile, most states legally allow at least some medical cannabis use and several (including Massachusetts) have already legalized both medical and recreational use for adults.

“Whatever your views are on medical or recreational cannabis use for adults, however, there’s near-universal agreement that adolescents should not use cannabis,” says Lydia Shrier, MD, MPH, who directs clinic-based research in the Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine.

But the legal system’s increasing support of cannabis and a rise in public approval of the drug has lowered the perception of risks associated with its use. As a result, in states where medical or recreational use for adults is legal, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are more likely to use cannabis than in states where all uses of the drug are illegal. …Read More

Preparing patients for spinal fusion surgery

A nurse assists as a spinal fusion surgery patient practices giving a medical dummy an IV drug.
Hands-on experience before surgery day: A simulation of what to expect during spinal fusion surgery.

Several studies have contributed to the school of thought that thoroughly preparing patients for surgery can reduce their anxiety and even lead to better recoveries and outcomes. That notion appears to be corroborated by the first-hand experience of Michael Glotzbecker, MD, a pediatric spine specialist and surgeon in the Boston Children’s Hospital Spinal Program.

“In my experience, patients do better when they are well prepared for surgery,” says Glotzbecker. …Read More

Seeing esotropia? Take fast action: Q&A with ophthalmologist

Diagram showing esotropia, aka an inward-turning crossed eye
Esotropia is the term used to describe an inward-turning crossed eye.

 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 4 percent of children have some form of strabismus (crossed eye). In infants, the most common type of crossed eye is known as esotropia, which is when the eye or eyes turn inward.

Although it can sometimes be as simple as prescribing glasses to correct the eye’s alignment, it’s important to seek expert care early.

Early intervention can:

  • rule out any potentially serious underlying disease
  • identify appropriate treatment to quickly correct the crossed eye and
  • prevent lingering long-term effects.

Boston Children’s Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, David Hunter, MD, PhD, offers advice to pediatricians on what to do when a patient suddenly develops esotropia. …Read More