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Pediatric Ophthalmology FAQs

What is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist?

A pediatric ophthalmologist is an ophthalmologist who focuses on eye diseases, visual development, and eye care in children. In addition to college and four years of medical school, they have completed a one year internship, a three year residency in ophthalmology, and one to two additional years in advanced fellowship training in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. Certification by the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus is required to complete the fellowship training.

Pediatric ophthalmologists are concerned with the development of a child’s visual system, as well as the eye conditions that may interfere with proper visual development in children. Additionally, a pediatric ophthalmologist may manage ocular diseases that affect children, perform eye surgery on children, or utilize glasses and medications to manage eye problems in children. Typically, children with squinting, misalignment of the eyes, head turns or tilts are referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for an evaluation.

Many of these conditions are genetic so often children are examined if there is a family history of childhood eye problems. Adults with eye movement disorders like strabismus are often referred to pediatric ophthalmologists, as they are familiar with this type of condition. Generally, pediatric ophthalmologists recruit an orthoptist to assist in the treatment of strabismus.

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What conditions can be treated or managed by a Pediatric Ophthalmologist?

A pediatric ophthalmologist is trained to treat and/or manage the following eye conditions:

  • Infections (conjunctivitis)
  • Strabismus and misalignment of the eyes
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Monitoring of the visual development and treatment of complications due to pediatric cataract, glaucoma, and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Visual inattention
  • Abnormal visual development
  • Ptosis
  • Genetic disorders
  • Congenital malformations
  • Myopia (near-sightedness)
  • Astigmatism
  • Dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and other visual problems affecting education

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