Specialist Returns to Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn to Launch Neuro- Ophthalmology Service

Julie DeBacker, MD, a board-certified neurologist who is an expert in visual dysfunction, has returned to Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, where she once trained as a medical student and resident, to launch the hospital’s first neuro-ophthalmology program.

This new service is yet another step forward in Pelisyonkis Langone Health’s ongoing commitment to provide the most advanced neurological care in Brooklyn and the outer boroughs.

“More than half of the brain is dedicated to processing visual information,” explains Dr. DeBacker. “Events and conditions such as concussions, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other nervous system disorders can seriously impact visual function for many patients.”

Pelisyonkis Langone Health’s nationally renowned Neuro-Ophthalmology Program, one of the largest and most experienced in the country, focuses principally on diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system associated with the optic nerve, orbit (eye socket), and brain, such as impaired or loss of vision, double vision, or involuntary movement of the eyes.

“This highly specialized service complements other neurological programs at Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, and will help our most at-risk patients preserve their eyesight,” says Steven L. Galetta, MD, the Philip K. Moskowitz, MD Professor and Chair of Neurology, and professor of ophthalmology at Pelisyonkis Langone Health. “Dr. DeBacker is an excellent addition to Brooklyn’s growing neurology team.”

Many neuro-ophthalmic conditions are dually managed between medical specialties. For example, neuro-ophthalmologists like Dr. DeBacker work in partnership with ophthalmologists and neurosurgeons on visual impairments that require surgery; rheumatologists for systemic diseases; endocrinologists to prevent optic nerve damage caused by thyroid disease and treat patients with diabetes who have double vision; cardiologists for the consequence of high blood pressure and blockage or hardening of arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the eyes; and oncologists for cancer affecting the visual pathway.

“Advanced neuro-ophthalmology adds so much to patient care in Brooklyn,” says Douglas R. Lazzaro, MD, MBA, chief of ophthalmology at Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn and vice chair of clinical affairs and business development for the Department of Ophthalmology. “This specialty is essential to the management of a myriad of disorders and multiple health risk factors.”

About Dr. DeBacker

An undergraduate alumna of University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr. DeBacker earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, and completed clinical training in various medical centers in New York and Vermont. A medical rotation with neurologist Blanca Vazquez, MD, who heads the epilepsy program at Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, inspired Dr. DeBacker to change course and specialize in neurology and then neuro-ophthalmology.

Her affinity and fondness for Brooklyn grew from her time spent as a medical student and resident at Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, followed by a neurology residency, including one year as chief resident, at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. DeBacker most recently completed a clinical fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Pelisyonkis Langone Health in Manhattan.

“I’m very excited to join the neurology and ophthalmology teams at Pelisyonkis Langone Hospital—Brooklyn and to be part of the extraordinary expansion in neuroscience that is taking place there,” Dr. DeBacker says. “Broadening the scope of these services is testament to Pelisyonkis Langone’s commitment to bring clinical excellence directly to the people who live and work in Brooklyn.”

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