Caregiver Profile: Deborah K. VanderVeen, MD | Boston Children’s Hospital
Now somewhere on here is a kitty cat, are you ready to find it? Do you like kitties? Meow. Where’s the kitty? Very good. When I was in training, I did my rotation at Boston Children’s Hospital, and while all my colleagues were very frustrated, because children were crying and they didn’t do what you asked them to do, it was just entertaining for me because the best way to examine them is to not let them know you’re examining them. We’d just play. I’m Deb VanderVeen, I’m a pediatric ophthalmologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. The main point of this exam is to get a good pressure reading, we’ll take some measurements of the front of the eye and look at the nerve. I’m an ophthalmologist, I see almost exclusively children, many of my patients are babies, even less than a month old, with cataract. A cataract is a cloudy area in the natural lens, if it’s a very small area that’s cloudy, or it’s not very dense, we don’t need to do surgery, but a dense cataract in a child will prevent the brain from getting a good image, and they won’t learn to see. The techniques these days are very good, and we have really good outcomes. Children should end up with pretty normal vision if we get to these in time. Tell me how old you are. Six. And? A half! I know, we can’t forget the half. Children are not small adults. Their eye diseases are different, their exam is geared differently, and what’s normal for them may be a little bit different from what you would expect from an adult. And so, our techniques and our interactions with them are geared for that. My favorite part of my job is seeing children, because they’re so entertaining. They make my day happier, it’s fun to come to work, you never know what’s going to come out of their mouth next.