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Introducing Walter M. Fierson, M.D....the Children’s Eye Physician

Dr. Fierson has been caring for children’s eyes in the San Gabriel Valley since 1979 while serving on the faculty of the University of Southern California Medical School and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The American Board of Ophthalmology has certified Dr. Fierson as an Ophthalmologist. He is a Fellow of the: American Academy of Ophthalmology (A.A.O.) and American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.). He is also a member of: the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (A.A.P.O.S.) and the Los Angeles Pediatric Society.

Dr. Fierson has privileges at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Glendale Adventist Hospital, Huntington Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia, Queen of the Valley, Citrus Valley Medical Center in West Covina, and Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital and Medical Center in Whittier.

Dr. Fierson comes highly trained in Pediatric Ophthalmology from Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, the Harvard University Program in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to that he trained as an Ophthalmologist at Los Angeles County- USC Medical Center and as an Internist at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, Albert Einstein Medical School in New York. He was an Intern at Harbor General-UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Fierson graduated second in his class from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society in his third year. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with Highest Distinction in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. We are fortunate to have a doctor with such excellent training.

Most of Dr. Fierson’s efforts have concentrated on the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.). For the A.A.P., he has served as Chairman of the Ophthalmology Section for two terms, Chairman of Surgical Sections, and Chairman of the Council on Sections of the A.A.P. He continues to Chair the Retinopathy of Prematurity Subcommittee, Ophthalmology Section of the A.A.P. since 1988. For all the work that Dr. Fierson has done, the current members of the Ophthalmology Section of the A.A.P. have honored him for “Outstanding Contributions to the A.A.P. Section on Ophthalmology, 2013”.

Dr. Fierson has conducted research on Strabismus, (eyes that are not straight), in children and adults, and treatment of Amblyopia (lazy eye). Dr. Fierson has recently written extensively on topics related to children and vision including:

Myopia. Fierson, W.M. “Can Myopia be Prevented or Treated”. California Pediatrician. Vol. 27 No.2 Fall, 2011

Learning Disabilities. Dr. Fierson together with Dr. Sheryl Handler co-authored the Policy Statement and Technical Report on Learning Disabilities for the A.A.P. and A.A.O. “Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision” on February 28, 2011. Pediatrics 2011;127;e818-e856.

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Dr. Fierson is lead author of the four Policy Statements on Retinopathy of Prematurity; the most recent statement, “Screening Examination of Premature Infants for Retinopathy of Prematurity” for the A.A.P. & A.A.O. was published in Pediatrics, January, 2013. R.O.P. is a retina problem that can lead to blindness in premature babies. Because of research and treatment worldwide, premature babies are less likely to become blind.

Down’s Syndrome. Dr. Fierson has written “Ophthalmological Aspects of Down’s Syndrome,” a chapter in the book, The Clinical Perspectives in the Management of Down’s Syndrome, Van Dyke et al, ed.

Other papers include “The Effects of Bilateral Superior Oblique Tenotomy on Horizontal Deviation in A-Pattern Strabismus”, “Retrolental Fibroplasia, Current Status”, and “Botulinum Toxin.”

Dr. Fierson lectures throughout North America on a variety of topics including: “Visual Problems of the Pre-school Child”, “Refractive Errors in Children”, “Visual Problems in Children”, “Treating Strabismus in Children”, “Amblyopia,” “Ocular Inflammation; Diagnosis and Treatment”, and “Treating Vision Problems of Pre-mature Babies.”

Aside from the direct care of children, one of the most gratifying work he has done has been to obtain better care for foster children. Although many of us strive to make a difference in the lives of others, Dr. Fierson actually succeeded in driving legislation for better care for Foster Children through the A.A.P. His interest in Foster Care began in his private practice where he found that for a few foster children, he was the only consistent adult in their life and often their care was disappointing. Thus, when he became Chairman of Sections and, therefore, a participant on the A.A.P. Board of Directors, he sought grant money for a task force to look into enhancing the well being of foster children in the United States. The task force invited participation from the major stakeholders in the USA concerned with Foster Care such as social workers, judges, foster care parent organizations, and adults who were once foster children to create “Healthy Foster Care America”.

As a result of their work, on October 13, 2008, President Bush signed into law: “the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.” The law has been called the most significant foster-care legislation since 1980 because it provides financial aid to children when living with their extended family. Previously, they were denied aid if living with their own extended family. It is designed to improve their overall physical, social, and psychological care, and to improve methods of keeping track of their placement and records. Dr. Fierson is a Founding Executive Board Member of the Council on Foster Care, Adoption, and Kinship Care of the A.A.P. and continues as a member of this Council.

On the personal side, Dr. Fierson served as a Flight Surgeon in the United States Air Force in the rank of Major from 1973 to 1975. He was trained as a Flight Surgeon at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. He was stationed at McGuire Air Force Base where he was the Nuclear Safety Officer. He is a past Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America, Troop 120, Arcadia; Dr. Fierson is an Eagle Scout. An enthusiastic skier, hiker, and photographer, Dr. Fierson is an avid reader, and enjoys history and tinkering with computers.

Walter and his wife Carolyn have been married since 1969. They have two children, David, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs for Alcon Entertainment. David and his wife Katherine, an attorney at Warner Brothers have given him the light of his life, his two grandchildren. Their son Jeffrey is Executive Vice President of Development for Strange Weather Films; he is married to Monica Leed, a production designer.