Winthrop Pediatric Opthalmologist Performs New, Successful Surgery on Patient with Rare Eye Disorder

Vol. 12, No. 3
December, 2002

  • A Vision Moves One Step Closer to Reality - Ground Breaks on Winthrop's New Heart Surgery Center and Pediatric Inpatient Center

  • Winthrop Ranked Among Best in New York State for Bypass Surgery

  • New, Dedicated Pediatric Emergency Unit Opens at Winthrop - Provides Specialized Care for Children's Unique Needs

  • Pediatric Asthma Parents Support Group - Try talking with others about Asthma�

  • Club W Reinvents the 1940's in All It's Glory at Winthrop's Annual Gala

  • Winthrop's Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Offers Treatment, Relief From Chronic Pain of Joint Disease

  • Winthrop Pediatric Opthalmologist Performs New, Successful Surgery on Patient with Rare Eye Disorder

  • From Hospital to Home, Winthrop Provides New Moms with Tools for Breastfeeding Success

  • Winthrop Named New York State Regional Perinatal Center - One of Only 18 Centers in all of New York State to Receive Prestigious Designation

  • Winthrop Receives Department Of Education Statewide Award For Employment Of People With Disabilities

  • Winthrop's New Website - Goes Live!

  • 'Celebrate America Fun-Fest- Benefits Winthrop's Cancer Center For Kids - Governor George Pataki, Senator Michael Balboni, Olympic Gold Medallist Sarah Hughes, Make Special Guest Appearances

  • Golfers Tee Off to Benefit Withrop's Institute for Heart Care at 17th Annual Golf Tournament

  • Assemblywoman Maureen O-Connell 'Reaches Out and Reads' to Local Children at Winthrop Pediatrics

  • Judging a Book by its Cover - All 3,000 of Them

  • Winthrop's Cancer Program Approved by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

  • Vascular Laboratory at Winthrop Achieves ICAVL Reaccredidation

  • 'Tis the Season for Giving

  • Senator Michael A.L. Balboni Sponsors $200,000 Bioterrorism Grant for Winthrop

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  • Pvan Eberhart was adopted from Russia at age 9 by two loving parents who brought him back to America for a chance at a better life. His adoptive parents, Isabel and Dennis Eberhart of Freeport, Long Island, gave him this chance in more ways than one.

    Ivan had a rare eye disorder known as Nystagmus, an involuntary movement of the eyes - usually from side to side, but sometimes causing the eyes to oscillate up and down or even in a circular motion. Nystagmus also results in poor vision. The Eberhart's are still not sure if Ivan was born with the problem, but are certain that an investigational surgery performed by Stephen Kronwith, MD, Ph.D., pediatric ophthalmologist at Winthrop-University Hospital gave Ivan a new perspective on life.

    Unlike most people living with the eye disorder, Ivan could feel the constant shifting of his eyes, causing him discomfort and making him self-conscious. When Ivan started seeing Dr. Kronwith for his vision problems as a pre-teen, little research or surgical procedures existed to treat Nystagmus. But, by the time Ivan was 16 years old, new hope was on the horizon. In the summer of 2001, Dr. Kronwith presented the family with a new alternative to living with the disorder - an investigational surgical treatment, not unlike surgery performed on those with "crossed-eyes" or "lazy eyes."

    Pre-op (left): Nystagmus caused Ivan Eberhart's eyes to constantly shift side to side.
    Post-op (right): After the surgery preformed by Dr. Kronwith, Ivan shows little movement in his eyes and has experience improved eyesight.

    The procedure involved cutting the muscles and severing the nerves on either side of both eyes. The muscles are then reattached to the eye in almost the same position as opposed to previous procedures that required re-attaching the muscles to much more difficult to reach locations on the eye. By severing some of the small nerves in the muscles that are thought to cause the rapid to and fro movement of the eyes, the problem can be alleviated.

    Currently, there is no cure or other medical procedure that has the potential to mitigate the eye movement associated with Nystagmus. Ongoing research into the disorder continues, but some causes may include an inborn neurological problem, albinism (lack of pigment), the development of multiple sclerosis later in life, stroke and some disorders of the retina. In early childhood, Nystagmus can be caused by a defect in the eye or visual pathway to the brain.

    "We thought about this procedure for a long time," explained Mrs. Eberhart. "It was scary for all of us because this surgery was so new, but Ivan couldn't be happier with the results. His eyes don't move much at all anymore and he has also experienced an improvement in his eyesight. Cosmetically, Ivan feels better about his appearance. The results are really amazing."

    According to Dr. Kronwith, there has been great advancement in the surgical procedure to treat Nystagmus. "A few years ago, when the surgery was first developed, it posed some risks. Today, with the improvement in the research and the procedure, the risk of injury to the eye is almost none," stated Dr. Kronwith, who is one of the few physicians in the region who successfully performs the surgery.

    "The worst case scenario is that the surgery doesn't work and there is no change in eye movement. More common, however, is the best case scenario, as in Ivan's situation � an overall improvement in the rapid eye movement, vision and life."

    For more information on Nystagmus or other disorders of the eye, call 866-WINTHROP.

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