Naples girl enjoys clear vision

When Tessa Crooker’s parents saw that her eyes were crossing, they knew their daughter had a potentially serious vision problem. That concern was well-founded, because without proper treatment, Tessa might have lost the vision in her right eye. Fortunately, the pediatric ophthalmology specialists at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at Naples were able to promptly diagnose and treat the problem.“

Now, our 8-year-old girl is seeing clearly again,” said her mom, Lisa Resch. “She’s running, biking, studying in school and wearing glasses to correct her condition. There is no question in our minds that Bascom Palmer is the best for vision care.”

Tessa’s parents are active members of the Naples community. Her father Ken Crooker is the owner of Party Time Rentals and Events, and her mother is the owner of Carolina Catering Company. After spotting Tessa’s eye problem, they made an appointment at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at Naples the day after it opened its doors in July 2015.

Craig A. McKeown, M.D., a specialist in pediatric ophthalmology, saw that Tessa had amblyopia in her right eye, a relatively common childhood condition.

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” can be caused by strabismus, a misalignment of the two eyes, or when one eye is more nearsighted, more farsighted, or has more astigmatism. With amblyopia, each eye sends a different visual image to the brain, which soon learns to ignore the image from the weaker eye.

“Tessa’s eyes were crossing due to a large amount of farsightedness,” said McKeown. “It’s a condition that can be hard to detect unless it is picked up in a vision-screening test. But if nothing had been done, Tessa would have wound up with permanent damage to that eye.”

McKeown advises parents, grandparents and teachers to watch for anything unusual in a young child’s vision. “If you see an infant or youngster’s eyes turning off center or looking in different directions, get an eye examination right away. Many vision problems can be corrected at an early age before there is lasting damage.”

Because Tessa was used to focusing with her left eye, McKeown said steps were needed to strengthen her weaker right eye. “He told Tessa to wear her glasses all the time, along with a patch over her left eye for two hours a day, except on her birthday,” said Resch. “She followed his instructions faithfully, and is now wearing the patch just an hour day. Her vision has improved so much, her patch may be able to come off later this year.”

Victor M. Villegas, M.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist at the Naples facility, has managed Tessa’s condition for the past year. ”

Along with the patches, we adjusted her glasses prescription to help her weaker eye,” he said.“ As a result, Tessa has gone from very poor vision to almost normal – 20/20 in her left eye and 20/25 in her right eye. It’s very rewarding for us to help Tessa see so much better.”

Villegas says the Southwest Florida community benefits from having a pediatric ophthalmology team at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at Naples – an arm of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology.

“Our institute provides clinical care to young patients, and conducts leading-edge research into childhood blinding diseases,”he said. “We also provide convenient follow-up care for young patients who go to our Miami facility for eye surgery, so they don’t have to keep driving back and forth.”

Tessa’s parents definitely agree. “If your child has an eye problem, the pediatric specialists at the Naples facility have extensive training and experience in these conditions. There is no question in our minds that Bascom Palmer is the best for place for vision care for patients of all ages.”

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