New Procedure Helps Restore Vision in Kids With Serious Condition

Seven-year-old Grace Nasser suffered from nystagmus which resulted in an uncontrollable shaking of the eyes. The new procedure helped cure it.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new procedure is proving to have dramatic effects and restore vision in children born with a serious eye condition known as Nystagmus, which causes a constant uncontrollable shaking of the eye. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from Irvine Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.

    Millions of children are born with a condition that affects their eyesight. Some cases are so severe, it’s difficult for the child to walk and impossible for them to learn.

    Seven-year-old Grace Nasser suffered from nystagmus which resulted in an uncontrollable shaking of the eyes.

    "She didn't look at us and her eyes rolled into the back of her head," Grace’s mother Athena Nassar said.

    Grace said she sometimes had trouble reading and doing other things.

    "If a child cannot keep their eyes still on a word, they're not going to be able to see that word clearly," ophthalmologist Robert Lingua said. 'So they learn to see the world in a blur."

    In the past, doctors may have tried taking a muscle of the eye and reattaching it elsewhere. According to NBC4’s Dr. Bruce Hensel, however, that approach would not have solved Grace’s problem completely.

    Dr. Lingua, who works at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute on the University of California, Irvine campus, tried a unique approach. Under Dr. Lingua’s care, Grace underwent a procedure that would change her life.

    "What we did with Grace was to remove the forward portion of the primary muscles that dealt with shaking," Lingua said. "By removing them and not allowing them to reattach to the eye, we were able to quiet the eye."

    According to Grace, the results were immediate.

    "I had to go to the bathroom, I'm all like, ‘no I don't need anyone to carry me or my wheelchair,’ I just walked over," Grace said.

    Her mother called the results "unbelievable."

    "She's happy, she's healthy, she's in school, she's doing many things she could never do before," Lingua said.

    Grace has gone from walking with a cane to now learning how to surf.

    "We're just ecstatic. We feel so blessed and just so happy for her," Grace’s mother said.