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.

Illustration of crossed eye

“People typically think that surgery for crossed eyes is a vanity issue and is only an option for kids,” Hunter says. “But a crossed eye can interfere with the way a person sees the world and communicates with others — and it’s totally possible to correct this condition in adults, too.”

Hunter has become so good at performing strabismus surgery on young children through his pediatric ophthalmology work at Boston Children’s that he’s now expanded his practice to perform surgeries on young adults and even on older adults in partnership with Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

“You just get really good at something the more experience you have doing it,” Hunter says.

Dib, who is now an ophthalmology resident at University of Alabama, saw a unique opportunity to use his own talent for film-making to capture Hunter’s impact on camera. Years after his rotation in Hunter’s clinic, he decided to come back to Boston to film patients undergoing surgery with Hunter.

“For years, I’ve been interested in doing a film about the impact of surgery to correct strabismus — or ‘squint’ as it’s called in the U.K.,” Huntersays. “I really wanted to be able to tell the story of how it can change lives.

Dib says the film “Squint”, an artistic collaboration between him and Hunter, is intended to show people that corrective surgery is a real option for strabismus, no matter someone’s age or how long their eye has been crossed.

“It’s the most amazing thing to be able to give confidence back to people,” Dib says. “Dr. Hunter does that every day.”

Related story on our Thriving blog: Eliza’s strabismus experience.