March 25, 2005

Donahue tabbed as first chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at VCH

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Sean Donahue, M.D.

Donahue tabbed as first chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at VCH

Sean Donahue, M.D., has been named chief of Ophthalmology at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Donahue, associate professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Pediatrics and Neurology at VUMC, will be creating the first Division of Ophthalmology for the pediatric population at Children's Hospital.

“Dr. Donahue is a nationally recognized pediatric ophthalmologist, who has demonstrated excellence in patient care, teaching, and research,” said Paul Sternberg, M.D., chair of the Department of Opthalmology and Visual Sciences. “The Vanderbilt pediatric ophthalmology clinical program is the busiest in the region, and is growing at a rapid pace.”

When he came to Vanderbilt in 1995, Donahue was instrumental in the creation of the Tennessee Lions Eye Center, which opened in October of 1997. Donahue helped grow the Pediatric Ophthalmology service from about 1,000 to 10,000 patients a year since 1995.

“We have been unique to this institution with the Lions Eye Center,” Donahue said. “It's so important to have a one-stop shop for children. Our rooms are designed to be child friendly, and we schedule patients so that the sub-specialists can come to the Lions Center to see the child, rather than sending a child somewhere else.”

“Sean Donohue has been an outstanding team member of the surgical faculty at Children's for several years and has done everything that he possibly could to advance the surgical care of children in his particular area of Ophthalmology,” said John Brock, M.D., surgeon-in-chief for Children's Hospital. “He has also been instrumental in the surgical services in leading the value analysis committee for Children's Hospital. It is indeed my pleasure to work with Sean and support the decision made by Dr. Sternberg to name him chief of Ophthalmology services at VCH. It is leaders like Sean who will help us continue to elevate the quality of surgical services that we provide to the children of this area.”

Donahue's research has been widely quoted in the media, including a study last year that showed many children who are prescribed eyeglasses do not need them. He says his area of special interest is early diagnosis of correctable eye problems in children using new screening techniques.

“With the support of the Lion's Club, we have expanded our scope to serve 150,000 children in the state with our early screening,” Donahue said. “By using a simple technique where we go to a daycare, for example, and take a Polaroid picture of a child's eyes then examine the reflection from the flash, we're able to find early indicators of conditions that lead to lazy eye.”

“The Lions Outreach Program, developed by Donahue, has become known internationally as the model program for screening young children for visual impairment,” Sternberg said. “By naming Donahue chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Vanderbilt Children´s Hospital, we are acknowledging both his accomplishments as a leader at Vanderbilt, as well as the prominence of VCH as a center of excellence for childrens' eye care.”

Donahue earned his M.D. and a Ph.D. in Developmental Neuroscience at Emory University in 1989. He did his Ophthalmology residency at the University of Pittsburgh and fellowships in Neuro-Ophthalmology and Pediatric Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.