Ophthalmology

The Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Nationwide Children’s is dedicated to serving the eye care needs of children of all ages. From standard eye exams to the diagnosis and treatment of complex eye disease, we are physicians and surgeons with the experience and expertise to meet the needs of even our most challenging patients.

Our mission is threefold — care, research and education. We provide world-class ophthalmology care to all children. We are on the forefront of children’s eye research. And we are educating future pediatric eye providers.
Don L. Bremer, MD
Chief of Ophthalmology

Our staff includes pediatric ophthalmologists, a pediatric ophthalmology fellow, optometrists and ophthalmology residents from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, as well as low vision and rehabilitation specialists. Specialty clinics staffed by ophthalmologists and other medical specialists and professionals include glaucoma, retina, oculoplastics, pseudotumor and low vision.

In the state-of-the-art Visual Electrophysiology Laboratory and Clinic, electroretinograms and numerous other tests are offered to children and adults with visual impairments. These tests assess retinal and retino-cortical anomalies and are performed in addition to visual acuity tests for nonverbal children, color tests and contrast sensitivity function tests.

Research is an integral part of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Department’s daily focus. We participate in several multicenter clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health involving a telemedicine approach to screening for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Additionally, we have been an active, vital member of the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group for 20 years.

“The research generated from our Pediatric Pseudotumor Cerebri Clinic has been recognized nationally and internationally in establishing the best approach to manage this disease in children,” says Dr. Bremer.

Other research endeavors include studying nystagmus using functional magnetic resonance imaging, and projects concerning infantile cataracts, fourth cranial nerve palsy and convergence insufficiency. As experts in pediatric cataract surgery, we are also involved in the research to understand the cause of cataracts.

9,461 Clinic visits in 2015
1,768 Surgical cases in 2015
1 Fellowship/residency programs
9 Number of surgical faculty
Restoring Ian’s Sight

Ian leaned into the wall mirror, put his face against it, stuck out his tongue and stared. “Wow, look at that,” he said in awe.

His mother cried.

Though he was four and a half years old, he acted as if he were seeing himself for the first time. And he may have been, having just undergone the first of two surgeries on his eyes to repair dislocated lenses that caused him to see only a blurry sliver of what others could see.

Ian was two when his mother Eva noticed that her son’s eyes jiggled. If she asked him to pick up a toy on the floor, he would bend down and grasp at nothing. If she pointed at a cow or horse on a nearby farm, he reacted in frustration: “Where, Mommy? I don’t see it!”

Like his mother, Ian has Marfan syndrome. The rare genetic disorder is associated with weak connective tissue, including that of the eye. The connective tissue in Ian’s eye was so weak that his lens became dislocated. At 2 years old, Ian began wearing glasses with thick lenses.

As Ian grew, the dislocation was expected to worsen and eventually result in aphakia — the absence of the lens of eye.

But when his family learned about another option, they agreed to be part of a study at Nationwide Children’s to restore the vision of children with Marfan syndrome and other disorders resulting in aphakia.

Aphakic Intraocular Lens for Children

As part of a multicenter study that began in 2014, Richard P. Golden, MD, ophthalmologist and principal investigator at Nationwide Children’s, is surgically implanting the Artisan Aphakia Intraocular Lens into the eyes of children with dislocated lenses.

The Artisan Aphakia lens is unique because it is fixed to the iris and, therefore, allows for lens implantation in patients who do not have the support structure for a traditional implant. Without an implant lens, these children must wear extremely strong and cosmetically unappealing glasses or highly customized, and often poorly tolerated, hard contact lenses.

“These patients now have an option to live with much more normal visual function,” Dr. Golden says. “These lenses are not yet FDA approved, but we expect this study will help gain approval.”

Nationwide Children’s is the third largest enrollment site across the country with 36 lenses implanted in 19 patients.

The new lens is intended to adapt to a growing child and last as the child ages. The surgery is typically done in patients between 8 and 18 years of age, but it has been done in children as young as 2 years old.

According to Dr. Golden, the Phase 3 trial is still underway and the team will be following these patients for five years after the procedure to assess the ability of the implanted lens to correct refractive error caused by aphakia.

Since having had a new lens implanted in each eye, Ian is more curious and delights in discovering what he could not see before. He loves video games that used to frustrate him. And when he’s sitting at the top of a water park slide, now he can see his parents below as he yells: “Look at me!”

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