Jill Anderson Minneapolis Ambassador Lion, Minnesota As a pediatric ophthalmologist, Jill Anderson uses cutting-edge technology to save childrens’ sight, carries a bag of tricks to make eye exams a breeze and strives to be a caring advocate for her patients’ families. Loves winter sports such as ice skating and skiing Her Lions club includes many ophthalmologists Was named one of the 2014 Best Doctors by Minnesota Monthly magazine Drawn to the Eye I never planned on ophthalmology, but in my medical school rotation I found myself really interested in it. The eye is beautiful to look at. Eye surgery is done in extremely small movements, which I love doing. Ophthalmologists are known as detail-oriented people, and it’s true. We deal in millimeters. Entertaining Exams Surgery is fascinating, but the real fun is in interacting with kids. When I go to the Minnesota Lions Children’s Eye Clinic, I bring a big bag of toys. I’ll hold up a toy for the child to look at—they don’t even know I’m doing an exam. I get to play with kids all day, yet I also get good exam information because they’re relaxed. Challenge of Detection I care for kids with retinoblastoma— eye cancer that begins in the retina, usually in children under age 3. If it’s caught early it can be an easy treatment, but unfortunately it tends to be noticed at a later stage. Parents will notice in photos that instead of red eye reflection, the eye looks white or dark. At that point, the tumor is fairly large. Compassion and Action It’s incredibly hard to tell a parent that their 2-month-old has eye cancer. I do my best to help them through the process and choose the best treatment. Parents sometimes have to make hard choices. I might use lasers and freezing treatments or localized chemotherapy. Fortunately the rate of saving eyes today is pretty high. Unfavorable Outcomes We do have disappointments. I treated one child for an advanced tumor, but she developed a painful pressure problem, so eventually we had to remove the eye. It’s upsetting to not have the outcome we wanted. But I can’t sit and cry. I have to maintain a balance of empathy and good medical decision-making. That’s not always easy. Special Relationships One unique thing about pediatrics is that I get to follow up with my patients as they grow because their visual development occurs over years. I love bonding with them and developing relationships with the families. I have four kids of my own, and I have my kids at work. They’re hard jobs and can be challenging to balance, but I’m honored to do both. Do you know a Lion who you think has a great story or deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of the Lion and the reason you’re making the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line.
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