Devin is a remarkable young man quick to discern if someone he encounters is kind or not. In a short space of time he will let you know if he wants you near him. As a bonus, his mom Sharon states, it sure helps your cause if you are a pretty girl.

Vision Care and Down Syndrome

Devin is thirty years old and has Down syndrome. “Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosone 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. All people with Down Syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.” (ndss.org) Down syndrome does not define Devin, but it does affect his ability to communicate.

Throughout his lifetime, Devin has seen every kind of doctor imaginable. Even though he happens to be non-verbal, he has no trouble letting everyone know with his actions when someone he meets in the medical field does not make him happy. More often than not, he does not take kindly to them. This can be quite a challenge for mother and son as Devin faces the many health concerns that are common to people with Down syndrome. One such concern is the presence or development of cataracts. “A child with Down syndrome will be evaluated by the pediatrician at birth, and referred to an ophthalmologist if something abnormal is detected. In some instances if there are no signs of cataracts at birth and depending on how developmentally delayed the person is, they may not be able to communicate they can’t see. For this reason, it is recommended any patient with Down syndrome, no matter what age, have a complete eye examination if they are starting to show reduced cognitive function, or changes in their normal activities.” (ndss.org) For Devin, he developed a cataract in his right eye as he grew older and eventually this began to impact his ability to perform his activities of daily living (ADLs).

Referred to Dr. Dawn Duss

Devin had received care for his impaired vision at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The ophthalmologist there met his match in Devin. Quickly and wisely, he knew that a pediatric ophthalmologist would better suit Devin’s needs and referred him to Dr. Dawn Duss. According to Sharon, as soon as she brought Devin through the doors of Pediatric Eye Consultants, ‘from the secretary to the tech, the care was superb from A to Z’. Devin clicked with Dr. Duss immediately. Sharon, pausing as her voice filled with gratitude and emotion, recalled how compassionate Dr. Duss was with Devin. She added with a chuckle, “I think it helps that Devin thought she was pretty, too.”

Through the process of Devin’s care, Dr. Duss never treated him as anything less than an equal. At one point during their time at Pediatric Eye Consultants, she emphasized that she did not consider Devin a pediatric case. She took the time to cover up the word ‘pediatric’ with her finger to let Sharon know Devin was, and always would be treated just like everyone else. She kept Sharon involved and informed so when it came time for him to have surgery to remove the cataract in his right eye, Sharon felt very comfortable with this decision.

“Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye. Cataract surgery is used to treat the clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. This surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist on an outpatient basis, which means you don’t have to stay in the hospital after surgery. Cataract surgery is very common and is generally a safe procedure.” (mayoclinic.org)

According to Sharon, even the surgical center staff exhibited the same quality, care and concern that they had experienced at the Pediatric Eye Consultants office. The atmosphere at the center ‘was like a warm towel wrapping the soul’. After the surgery and some time for healing had passed, Sharon has noticed a marked improvement in Devin’s functioning. Having bettered his vision, this has also helped to improve his life.

“Even though I did not receive direct services from Dr. Duss, she opened my eyes to the vision of quality care”.

Sharon is hoping that Dr. Duss will consider renaming her practice ‘The Quality Care Clinic’.

To learn more about how you or a loved one could become a valued patient at Pediatric Eye Consultants, please call our front office to schedule an appointment.