“I was Dr. Wasserman’s very first pediatric patient with special needs to undergo LASIK. I have cerebral palsy with a touch of ataxia. I was also diagnosed at birth with strabismus and amblyopia. I had bilateral eye muscle surgery when I was two.”
As other treatments failed and Maddy’s vision deteriorated, several ophthalmologists in Virginia held the opinion that nothing could be done due to her special needs.
“When someone says, ‘nothing can be done’…don’t listen, don’t wait, go find the answer. I have worn glasses since I was eight months old. My vision impairments were interfering with the demands of daily living. A doctor at CHOP referred us to Wills Eye where Dr. Barry Wasserman performed an extensive evaluation and determined that LASIK surgery would help me reach my goal: no glasses.
“I knew LASIK can be noisy. I told Dr. Wasserman that loud sounds frighten me. He said not to worry, I won’t hear a thing except for his jokes. He even sat in the recovery room with me, making sure my family and I were okay. I really appreciated his calling later that night to check in.”
“It takes a large and coordinated effort to perform refractive surgery on special needs children and adults who need glasses or contact lenses but just can’t manage them. Wills Eye is one of the few places in the world providing LASIK and PRK surgery under anesthesia,” says Dr. Wasserman, who has been developing the surgery-for-special-needs project for a decade
Maddy is entering George Mason University this fall to become a Certified Child Life Specialist, and she aims to do it without wearing glasses.