Meet Dr. Deborah Friedman
Neuro-Ophthalmologist in Dallas
Many people who suffer from debilitating migraine and cluster headaches are desperate for relief. UT Southwestern Medical Center neuro-ophthalmologist and headache expert Dr. Deborah Friedman is often able to provide it.
“I see the most challenging and complex headache patients, and we’re able to correctly diagnose and treat the majority of them very successfully,” Dr. Friedman says. “They’re highly motivated to get better, and we can usually help them do that.”
Dr. Friedman is Chief of the Division of Headache Medicine and the founding Director of UT Southwestern’s Headache and Facial Pain Program. She is also one of only a handful of U.S. physicians with special expertise in evaluating and treating conditions that overlap the fields of headache medicine and neuro-ophthalmology.
“My clinical niche is the interface of headache and the eyes and vision,” she says.
One condition in that niche is idiopathic intracranial hypertension – high blood pressure in the brain that has no known cause. Also called pseudotumor cerebri syndrome, the condition affects women of childbearing age and can lead to ongoing headaches and blindness if not successfully treated.
Dr. Friedman is also an expert in treating spontaneous intracranial hypotension – low blood pressure in the brain – which can cause headaches, as well.
Making the Right Diagnosis
“I love headache medicine because we can make people feel better, which is incredibly rewarding,” she says. “Patients tell us, ‘I had horrible headaches all my life, and nobody knew what to do. You gave me my life back, and I’m so grateful.’”
In most cases, she says, the key to effective headache treatment is correct diagnosis.
“The number-one thing we do in the Headache and Facial Pain Program is try to make the right diagnosis.”
Dr. Friedman also gets satisfaction from sharing her knowledge with others.
“I really enjoy being able to help people as an educator,” she says. “I’m proud of what I’m able to teach my patients, trainees, colleagues, and others.”
Thankfully, people with headache disorders have reason to be optimistic.
“There are a lot of new things going on in headache medicine – from new delivery systems like intranasal sprays, injectables, and monoclonal antibodies to state-of-the-art implanted stimulators,” Dr. Friedman says. “It’s a great time to work in this field.”
Note: Dr. Friedman’s patients require a referral and must already have been seen by a neurologist.