WHAT WE DO
It is important that all children have a vision screening by the age of 3, or earlier if any vision problem is suspected. Many of the eye problems affecting children are treatable, and early treatment can prevent life-long blindness. Below are several of the most common problems that effect children’s eyes.
Pediatric Eye Care and Adult Strabismus:
Eye misalignment (Strabismus)-
Strabismus refers to eyes that are misaligned and point in different directions. It may always be noticeable, or it may come and go. The eyes may cross in, drift outward, or one eye may be higher than the other. When the eyes are misaligned, two different pictures are sent to the brain. In a young child, the brain learns to ignore the image of the misaligned eye. This causes loss of depth perception and binocular vision, and often “lazy eye” (amblyopia) results. Adults with misaligned eyes usually have double vision. Strabismus also can run in families, and it is NOT outgrown. As a child gets older, the chance of developing normal sight and binocular vision decreases.
Depending on the cause and type of eye misalignment, glasses, patching, eye drops, prisms and/or surgery may be recommended. Eye muscle surgery involves making a small incision in the thin tissue that covers the white of the eye, which allows the ophthalmologist to access the eye muscles. The tension of the eye muscles in one or both eyes is adjusted by repositioning the muscle on the eye. In about 25% of patients, the eyes are not adequately aligned after surgery, and a second surgery may be needed. Eye muscle surgery is an outpatient procedure, and recovery is generally quick.
Lazy eye (Amblyopia)
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood because a blurry image was sent to the brain. It is preventable, but it can be corrected only if it is treated during childhood. If not treated early, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in adulthood. Children with a family history of lazy eye should be checked early in life. The main causes of lazy eye are: strabismus (eye misalignment), unequal focus (need for glasses), or cloudiness in the normally clear eye tissues (such as cataract). To correct lazy eye, the child must be forced to use the poor-seeing eye. This is done with patching or drops in the good eye.
Blocked tear duct
A blocked tear duct in an infant can cause excessive tearing and mucus buildup on the eyelids and eye lashes. This occurs when a thin tissue in the nose does not open before birth, blocking the drainage of tears from the eyes into the back of the nose and throat. Many cases resolve within 6-12 months after birth. Blocked tear ducts can be treated with a brief outpatient surgical procedure in which a thin, blunt metal probe is passed through the tear drainage system to open the obstruction. Infants and children experience no pain after the procedure, but blood-tinged tears or nasal secretions are common.
A drooping eyelid, or ptosis, in children may be present at birth, or it may develop during childhood. It can also become worse as the child grows. This needs to be closely monitored by an ophthalmologist to ensure that normal vision is developing in the eye with the droopy eyelid because it can cause a lazy eye. If the droopy eyelid is causing loss of vision, an outpatient surgical procedure can be performed to raise the eyelid height.
Many children get one or more styes during childhood. This is a small, red area of swelling on the eyelid that may or may not be painful to the touch. Generally, home therapy is tried first. If it does not get better, a procedure can be performed to open up the stye so that it drains and resolves.
White pupil (Cataract)
A white pupil or difference between the pupils in the eyes needs to be evaluated as soon as possible. There are many causes for a white pupil. One of the more common causes is a cataract in children. A cataract in one eye can cause a severe lazy eye and blindness if it is not treated properly.
Additional services we offer:
Fundus Photography- A picture of the back of the eye that helps us detect changes in your eye. Often used to help diagnose retinal changes, as well as glaucoma.
OCT- Optical Coherence Tomography- A scan that measures the thickness of each layer of the retina.
Visual Field Test- A non-invasive computerized test that checks for changes in the peripheral vision.