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Pediatric Treatments and Surgeries

Safeguard Your Child’s Vision

At East Coast Eye, we offer advanced medical treatments for various eye conditions. Trust our skilled ophthalmologists to provide the care you need to keep your eyes healthy and vibrant.

We Welcome Children

At East Coast Eye we’re family oriented. We love kids, and they love us. That’s because we take our time with each child, serve our care with kindness, answer questions patiently, and listen — even to our youngest clients. This process makes visiting the eye doctor less scary for little ones.

Our pediatric services are thorough. We treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism with corrective lenses. We also treat amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), infections, and blocked tear ducts.

East Coast Eye will take special care to make your child comfortable as we ensure their visual development proceeds as normally as possible.

Frequent Medical Concerns

Can children see an ophthalmologist?

Yes, children can and should see an ophthalmologist, especially if they have vision problems or eye conditions. Pediatric ophthalmologists specialize in treating eye conditions in children.

The most common problems seen in the children’s eyes, other than nearsightedness, are those related to lazy eye difficulties, muscle weakness, and turns of the eye. Some of these are present at birth while others become evident only later on. Proper diagnosis and management are critical to developing clear vision and must be established during the first few years of life.

Crossing of the eyes is a very common problem in childhood. In many cases, this is an illusion caused by the wide and flat bridge of the nose which has not yet developed. True crossing, however, may be present at birth or develop during the first year or two of life. The illusionary “crossing” will always disappear as the child grows since it is not a real crossing in the first place. True crossing is not outgrown. If you think your child has crossed eyes, it is important to have your child examined promptly.

With an eye persistently crossing, the vision may decrease in that eye, a condition known as amblyopia or lazy eye. A child may also have a lazy eye without it being crossed. If one eye sees well and the other does not, and if there is no crossing of the eye, you may have no clue that there is even a problem in the first place. By the time it is discovered during the vision screening tests given when your child is 5 years old and in kindergarten, it becomes significantly more difficult to treat. For this reason, even if you have no suspicion of any problem, we suggest you have an initial comprehensive examination of your child’s eyes by the end of the first year of life. Early amblyopia (lazy eye) can be detected and treated. If you suspect that there might be some problem, let us examine your child at that time, no matter how young. We routinely examine even newborn infants where there may be a suspected problem. Being old enough to read an eye chart is not necessary.

In addition to the simple refractive errors noted above, there are many other possible problems. Pediatric ophthalmologists treat congenital eye disorders, such as cataracts, incomplete development, and anatomic irregularities. are problems seen by. Some of these conditions may be associated with other developmental disorders. It is not uncommon for the ophthalmologist (who is an M.D.) to be the one to diagnose certain systemic conditions.

Prematurity, with the need for supplemental oxygen, can be
associated with retinal problems. This is one reason why we examine the eyes of virtually all preemies. Although it is unusual, retinopathy of prematurity (often called ROP), can often be treated effectively.

Children certainly can have many of the same problems as adults, including simple “pink eye” (infectious conjunctivitis), allergies, cataracts, or glaucoma. The eyes may be involved in other systemic illnesses of children such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or childhood diabetes. Remember that ophthalmologists are physicians who have completed medical school and have training not only in eye problems but also in other bodily illnesses that may involve the eyes. Within our practice, Drs. Turtel and Pardon are fellowship-trained subspecialists in pediatric ophthalmology.

Lazy eye, medically known as amblyopia, is a visual development disorder where one eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity, even with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. This condition usually develops in early childhood and can result from various factors that interfere with proper visual development.

Many children have difficulty reading, reverse their letters, or are generally slow at learning. We often receive referrals from pediatricians for a complete evaluation of these children’s eyes. Certainly, this is recommended, for if a child cannot see well, learning may be impaired. However, true learning disabilities such as dyslexia are virtually never based on eye disease. Furthermore, they are NOT improved by the so-called eye muscle exercises that have become popular in recent years. Eye muscle problems do not create learning difficulties. Children do not reverse letters (such as b and d) because of eye problems. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology want you to know that these eye exercises are of no value. If your child has learning difficulties, the problem should be left to the learning disabilities specialists and the educators, NOT eye care providers who prescribe eye exercises. Please don’t hesitate to talk to our specialists about this important subject.
More common than any other childhood eye problem is simple nearsightedness, technically called myopia. This is not really a disease but rather a continued growth of the eyeball’s length. In other words, the eyeball is too long from front to back so that the image, which is projected onto the retina, is out of focus. See the two photographs below. Figure 1 shows the “normal” eye in which the image is focused exactly on the retina.

Figure 1

Figure 2 shows the myopic eye in which the image comes to focus before it reaches the retina. Then, as the light rays continue back until they reach the retina, they are out of focus again. All this happens because the eye is too long, and the retina is too far back from the lens.

Figure 2

Nearsightedness can be present during the first few years of life but more commonly starts during the school years. Children often do not complain about blurry vision. It is not until a parent or teacher notes that the child is squinting to see the board in school that the problem becomes evident. Glasses are generally the solution. These days, many children, even younger ones, are being fit with contact lenses as well. Our office can perform the necessary examination of your child to make certain that the appropriate prescription for glasses is available. Our optical shop can make and fit the glasses for you, often within the same day. If contact lenses are desired as an option, we can perform the fitting and take care of the follow-up as well. Farsightedness, or hyperopia, occurs when the eyeball is too short, and the image strikes the retina before it has had a chance to become in focus. In other words, the retina is too close to the lens. The focal point of the light rays is further back than the retina.

The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus is an excellent source of information.

Still Have Questions?

If you have any further questions about optical medical treatment you can simply call us and speak with a doctor. Or you can come in for a free consultation.

Patient Education

Your eye health is as important to us as it is to you. We want you to understand everything about your eyes, including at-home eye care, diagnoses, and treatment options. We’ve created this blog to ensure you have all the information you need.
Trying on glasses

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