During Dr. Patrick Arnold’s senior year at Colorado State University – where he was studying biochemistry and thought maybe he’d become a pediatrician – a small piece of metal embedded in the surface of his eye that had to be removed with a little drill. He thought that was pretty cool. Now, Dr. Arnold is the only full-time pediatric and strabismus ophthalmologist in Northern Colorado. He’s been with the Eye Center of Northern Colorado since 1999 (having been hired as the eighth eye care provider at the Eye Center and the only pediatric ophthalmologist north of Denver). He’s the managing partner of the Eye Center, a clinical instructor for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, a past president of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians, and he’s been part of a lot of changes in his communities – inside the Eye Center, within the ophthalmology community, and in Northern Colorado.
But as things like the tools and technology of the trade change and improve over the years, some things remain the same. Like strabismus, which is eye misalignment. This is the pediatric condition Dr. Arnold treats the most. Strabismus results when your two eyes cannot keep proper alignment with each other, causing the eyes to look in different directions; it’s a misalignment of one eye compared to the other. There are several forms of strabismus:
- Crossed (esotropia), one eye crosses in, relative to the other
- One straight/one down (hypotropia)
- One straight/one out (exotropia)
- One straight/one up (hypertropia)
Treating strabismus with surgery either loosens or tightens eye muscles, changing the alignment of the eyes.
There’s a real variety in the types of procedures Dr. Arnold and his team perform, including plastics for conditions such as blocked tear ducts and tumors around the eyes. Kids also come to the Eye Center to treat cataracts and glaucoma, crossed eyes, amblyopia (lazy eye), nystagmus, retinopathy of prematurity, and other common eye problems. Adults come to Dr. Arnold for eye muscle surgery too, when they have eye conditions similar to those they experienced in childhood (such as strabismus), or new conditions they’ve acquired from other health issues, like double vision from a refractive error or as a result of a stroke.
There’s something to be said about dedicating your life to improving the lives of children who need the most help; there’s something different about the level of care you receive from specialists who are dedicated to helping the patients who are having the most trouble. Dr. Arnold calls the pediatrics team at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado “outstanding.” The whole team is experienced and extensively trained, including Sarah Galt, O.D., who recently joined pediatrics. They’re also just really good with kids, which makes what could be a stressful experience go as smoothly as possible – for everyone. Dr. Arnold has a lot of contact with the families of his patients before and after surgery, letting families know how things went, what to expect and how to handle recovery, and with the help of his team, he makes sure families are comfortable, their questions are answered, and they have everything they need.
At the Eye Center of Northern Colorado, quality of care is the number one priority, especially when it comes to our littlest patients and their families.