New staff and new diagnostic equipment have substantially increased our ability to diagnose and treat the most complex pediatric eye conditions at The Children’s Hospital. The opening of the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute on the Fitzsimons campus of the University of Colorado has expanded opportunities for treating the pediatric ophthalmology patient. Participation in the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology and Dr. Bateman’s pending presidency of the Association have extended the influence of The Children’s Hospital within the international community.

J. Bronwyn Bateman, MD
with eleven-year-old Danicia

New Technology
New advances in technology drove decisions to purchase a number of pediatric ophthalmic machines. The department purchased a Retcam® photography system to help diagnose tumors and complex diseases of the eye. The Retcam is also particularly effective in documenting injuries secondary to shaken baby syndrome. A horizontal YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) laser that allows infants and small children to be treated under anesthesia; an electroretinogram (ERG), and a new vitrectomy/ lensectomy instrument expand our ability to treat both simple and complex pediatric cataract and retinal problems.

This technologically advanced equipment gives us some of the best diagnostic services in the country.

Facilities and Programs
In 2001, The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute (RMLEI) opened on the Fitzsimons campus. A partnership between the Lions Clubs of Colorado and Wyoming, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) and the University of Colorado Hospital, the Institute provides outpatient surgery and treatment. Dr. Bateman’s responsibilities at both the University and The Children’s Hospital have helped expand opportunities for the treatment of pediatric ophthalmic patients at the RMLEI. Treatment of both pediatric glaucoma and ophthalmic plastic surgery for young patients have increased at The Children’s Hospital.

In partnership with the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, the department of Ophthalmology provides specialized training to health care workers who work with families considering cornea donation. The Eye Bank works with more than 100 hospitals in the region. More than 2,500 health care workers have received instruction in facilitating the cornea donation decision process. Working closely with the Donor Awareness Council, the eye bank helped design and distribute Donor Drive Kits. The kits are educational packets for corporations, civic and other groups interested in eye and organ donation.The department helped initiate a vision screening program for pre-verbal or non-verbal children, the Colorado Pre-Verbal Vision Screening Program.

Recruitment and Staff
Arlene Drack, MD, joined the staff at The Children’s Hospital in December 2002. Dr. Drack comes to The Children’s Hospital from Emory University School of Medicine where she served as director of the Georgia Lions Children’s Eye Care Center, one of the top pediatric eye centers in the world. She has done seminal research in ophthalmic genetics. She recently was awarded the Bingham Fellow Award from the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation. Dr. Drack serves on the American Academy of Ophthalmology Pediatric Preferred Practice Patterns Committee.

J. Bronwyn Bateman, MD, is chair of the department of ophthalmology at The Children’s Hospital and at the University of Colorado. She has lectured nationally and internationally on topics of pediatric ophthalmology. Her research interests include autosomal dominant cataracts and hereditary eye diseases. She is board-certified in both ophthalmology and human genetics. Dr. Bateman has published extensively and delivered almost 400 research presentations worldwide. She is president-elect of the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology and president-elect of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. She chairs the American Academy of Ophthalmology Pediatric Preferred Practice Patterns Committee, which sets examination and treatment standards for ophthalmologists across the nation.

Dr. Bateman’s active membership in the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology has produced consultation opportunities on an international scale. Additionally, her participation in the association has facilitated the training of fellows from Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Malaysia and Brazil at The Children’s Hospital in Denver.

Future Plans
With the acquisition of new technologically advanced equipment and the hiring of Dr. Drack, the department of Ophthalmology looks forward to extending treatment to a larger pediatric population and expanding its local geographic coverage to include additional states and regions. The broadened partnership with the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute will create additional pediatric ophthalmic services for the children of the region.



New YAG Laser Advances Cataract Care

Following cataract surgery, nearly all pediatric patients develop a cloudy membrane called a secondary cataract, or capsular opacity, that blurs their vision much like the original cataract did. Because of the vigorous healing response in children, some will also develop a membrane across the pupil. Fortunately, treatment with a yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) laser opens this cloudy membrane and clears the vision.

The only pediatric YAG laser in the Rocky Mountain region offers the region’s children and their families the most advanced pediatric eye care. YAG laser microsurgery, such as capsulotomy, pupiloplasty or iridotomy, can be easily and safely accomplished with infants and children in the supine position under general anesthesia. Pediatric anesthesiologists, specifically trained in administering anesthesia to young patients, help ensure the success of this delicate procedure to restore kids’ vision.

The newest version of vitrectomy instruments will further enhance the capability of The Children’s Hospital ophthalmologists to treat the broadest range of childhood cataract and retinal conditions.