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Dominic's Story

Using Botox to Help Correct a Premature Baby’s Squint

Dominic Savini is now a healthy 17 month old baby with lots of energy. But it is incredible that Dominic is here at all. He was born at 26 weeks just past the age generally agreed to be the bare minimum for a baby to survive outside the womb. Doctors at the Portland Hospital for Women and Children helped Dominic avoid surgery after his challenging start to life by using Botox to help correct his eyes.

There were several times when Dominic stopped breathing in his first few months of life - it was touch and go whether he would survive at all. Due to the under-development of his lungs Dominic spent his first 24 hours of life on a ventilator living on a machine and then needed further help with breathing for ten weeks.

Dominic still had to fight even after leaving hospital. A month after his discharge he was readmitted to have bilateral hernias operated on. Around this time Dominic's mum, Erica, noticed that both his eyes were starting to point inwards. She raised this with Dominic's consultant, Mr Jain, a Paediatric Ophthalmologist at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children.

Mr Jain said: "Dominic was suffering from what we call a 'bilateral convergent squint', where both of the eyes were pointing inwards to the nose. In the circumstances we wanted to correct the alignment of the eyes in the least invasive way possible. Botox relaxes the muscles, which is why it is used to treat wrinkles, but before that it was utilised in the treatment of conditions related to overactive muscles such as cerebral-palsy or over-sweating. In this case we needed to relax Dominic's eye muscles that pull the eyes inwards and Botox allowed us to do this without conducting any further operations".

Dominic had two treatments for his eyes using Botox at The Portland Hospital – the first was conducted as a straight forward outpatient procedure and the second at the same time as his operation to correct his testicle. Erica said "The results of the Botox on Dominic's eyes have been incredible – we were in and out of hospital the same day for the first procedure. His eyes are nearly completely corrected now and without the need for more surgery. At 17 months Dominic is now a healthy bouncing baby – with an appetite to match!"

Ophthalmology at the Portland Hospital for Women and Children

The Portland Hospital's Ophthalmology Department and their team of specialist paediatric ophthalmologists are on hand to help children with all eye conditions using the very latest diagnostic equipment and techniques. The most common surgical conditions treated include squints and clearance of occluded ducts.

For more information or to arrange an appointment please contact our Children's Enquiry Line on 020 7390 8020.

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