What is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist?
A child’s vision should be top priority in his or her early life development. SightMD ophthalmologists are expertly trained to diagnose, monitor, and treat the complete range of pediatric eye conditions and adult strabismus. We take the necessary care to ensure healthy eye development in children providing comprehensive eye examinations – even as early as at birth and throughout your child’s life.
Besides screening for conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes), screening for refractive errors is an integral part of a pediatric eye exam. Like adults, children can suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
Our specialists provide gentle care that will take away the fear of going to the eye doctor. We are dedicated to helping kids of all ages have the best possible experience in a comforting office setting. Our exceptional facilities, specialists, and subspecialists will help your child to see as well as possible—and we go the extra mile to make sure this happens.
A pediatric ophthalmologist has additional expertise in examining children, especially preschool aged children, children with developmental delays, and autistic patients. Doctors can perform surgical procedures to correct misaligned eyes in both children and adults. These surgeries help to treat congenital nasolacrimal duct obstructions (blocked tear ducts).
In addition to performing complex surgery, a pediatric ophthalmologist can manage children’s eye problems using glasses and medications. Good vision is easy to maintain with early diagnosis.
How can I Protect my Child’s Eyes and Vision?
Vision problems can have a significant impact on your child. As much as 80% of what your child learns at school is presented visually. If your child has difficulty seeing the teacher at the front of the room or cannot fully participate in a soccer game during gym class, a host of problems can result.
Eyeglasses are a simple solution that can address most vision problems and in some cases, young children are good candidates for contact lenses. Maturity and responsibility play a larger role than age alone in determining when your child is ready for contacts. During a thorough consultation, our doctors can determine what solution will best meet your child’s needs.
If a refractive error is found, your child should visit an eye doctor once a year to make certain that his or her prescription is up to date. Clear vision can help your child grow and learn and it is important to establish regular exams to ensure that your child experiences the best possible vision
What are Common Pediatric Eye Conditions?
SightMD ophthalmologists are expertly trained to diagnose, monitor, and treat the complete range of pediatric eye conditions. We coordinate care with our subspecialists to make sure your child receives the most innovative, safe and advanced treatments available.
- Strabismus is a condition that causes the eyes to be misaligned, referred to as “cross-eyes”. There are multiple types of strabismus, and therapy or surgery can help fix this issue. When left untreated as a child, strabismus is much harder to correct as an adult.
- Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) is a condition that causes visual impairment in children and is one of the most common childhood eye problems in the world. It is a result of weak or underdeveloped eye muscles. Strabismus can also cause amblyopia. The issue can be fixed through therapy. Amblyopia therapy aims to strengthen the weaker eye by using it more. This is done by patching the stronger eye, forcing the weaker eye to make up for its absence.
- Diplopia – also known as double vision, can be caused by several underlying medical conditions, and should be treated quickly. Double vision can severely impact a child’s learning ability. It can be hard to tell if your child is experiencing double vision, especially if they are too young to articulate it. Pediatric eye examinations should detect this problem.
- Retinopathy of prematurity – is a condition that affects premature infants. When a baby is born prematurely, their retinal blood vessels may grow weak and fragile. This causes the blood vessels to leak and break easily – causing blood and fluid to enter the eye cavity. This can cause blind spots in vision and lead to scarring, which can affect vision later in life.
What Should I Expect During a Pediatric Eye Exam?
Many basic skills related to good eyesight will shape how your child learns. During early exams, we will test these skills, including hand-eye and binocular (using both eyes) coordination, near and distance vision, focusing and eye movement skills, and peripheral awareness.
During an exam, random dot stereopsis, a test using patterns of dots and 3-D glasses, can be used to test how your child’s eyes function in tandem. Retinoscopy may be performed to assess the health of the retina. Instead of using regular eye charts, your child may be asked to identify objects called LEA Symbols®, like an apple or circle, to test their vision.
We strongly recommend infants undergo a comprehensive eye examination at six months of age. Additional check-ups should be performed at age three and immediately before entering kindergarten. If no vision correction is needed, exams every two years after are sufficient.
Eye examinations are the foundation of your child’s visual health and set the tone for your child’s future eye health. Without them, early childhood eye issues cannot be diagnosed and treated. These childhood issues can lead to bigger problems down the road if left untreated. Pediatric eye exams can help avoid that!
Children may need eye plastic surgery to correct common issues like tear duct obstruction, eyelid problems or eye socket problems.