Pediatric Ophthalmology

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Eye Diseases

For More Information 919-681-3937

Identifying childhood eye and vision problems early is often the best way to preserve or restore vision. This applies to common pediatric eye conditions -- such as refractive errors requiring eyeglasses, amblyopia (or lazy eye), and strabismus (eyes that are not straight) -- as well as serious eye conditions such as childhood cataracts; glaucoma; optic nerve and retinal diseases like retinopathy of prematurity; and an eye tumor called retinoblastoma. Pediatric eye specialists at the nationally ranked Duke Eye Center use the latest advances in pediatric ophthalmology to optimize your child’s vision and eye health. 

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Why Your Child Should See a Pediatric Eye Doctor

Children may experience some of the same eye problems found in adults; however, their care is often quite different. They may be too young to explain their symptoms or to sit patiently for exams. They benefit from being seen by eye doctors who are experienced in evaluating and caring for infants and children and who use advanced diagnostic, medical, and surgical techniques. 

Many childhood eye conditions can be treated without surgery, and often interventions are as simple as wearing eyeglasses or an eye patch or using eyedrops. However, if childhood glaucoma, cataracts, retinoblastoma, or another serious pediatric eye disease is detected and medical intervention or surgery is needed, your child will receive care at Duke from respected leaders in pediatric ophthalmology. Our doctors train doctors to become pediatric eye care providers and eye surgeons. They lecture worldwide on the latest advances in pediatric eye care and engage in research to develop new and better treatments that are followed around the world.

You can schedule a new appointment with some of our providers online. Use this link to find available times and clinic locations.

Access to a Wide Range of Pediatric Eye Specialists

At Duke, your child has access to a wide range of eye specialists including:

  • Ophthalmologists who are trained in the medical and surgical management of childhood eye conditions including amblyopia and strabismus, glaucoma, cataracts, and prematurity-related eye problems, among other rare conditions.
  • Pediatric optometrists who perform regular eye exams using the latest diagnostic equipment to assess your child’s vision and eye health, screen for myopia and astigmatism, and prescribe glasses as needed.
  • Strabismus surgeons and pediatric ophthalmologists who manage complicated eye muscle problems.
  • Neuro-ophthalmologists who are experts in eye conditions that relate to or result from neurologic problems.
  • Cornea specialists who manage vision-threatening corneal conditions.
  • Inherited retinal disease and vitreoretinal specialists who have the training, skills, and resources to treat children with complex retinal and optic nerve diseases that affect vision.
  • Oculoplastic surgeons who can perform surgery on the face, eyes, tear system, and facial structures surrounding the eye to improve your child’s appearance following cancer, trauma, or congenital defects or to resolve a less serious issue such as a blocked tear duct system.
Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Specialized Services for Pediatric Eye Diseases

Child-Friendly Center
Children are often anxious or impatient while waiting to see the doctor. Our child-friendly waiting room and clinical spaces are equipped with flat-screen television (with child-appropriate content) as well as space to move around. The environment is designed to reduce stress for the whole family.

Routine Eye Exams
Our pediatric optometrists specialize in assessing vision development and correcting vision problems in children. We check the health of your child’s eyes, screen for a full range of eye conditions, measure how well they see, and determine if they need glasses or contact lenses.

Specialty Contact Lenses
Pediatric specialty contact lenses can help improve vision, promote visual development, and improve the quality of life for children with certain eye conditions. Examples include:

  • Irregular or scarred corneas from past corneal infection or trauma
  • Very high glasses prescriptions or significantly different prescriptions in each eye (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism)
  • Corneal diseases including severe dry eye syndrome, graft-versus-host disease, limbal stem cell deficiency, Sjögren’s syndrome, neurotrophic keratitis, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Keratoconus

Our pediatric optometrists have advanced training in determining the best type of specialty contact lens for your child. They will undergo a specialty contact lens fitting, and our technicians will teach your child – and you -- how to insert, remove, and care for the lenses.

Coordinated Care for Maximum Convenience
Our pediatric ophthalmologists, optometrists, and orthoptists (specialists in vision and eye movement problems) work closely together and with other pediatric specialists at Duke to manage your child’s eye care. If your child requires multiple visits for different eye disorders, we make every effort to coordinate their care and maximize your convenience.

Supportive Environment
We offer patient support services, including educational materials and programs and a vision rehabilitation program. Our social worker can help your family cope with and manage non-medical challenges related to your child’s condition.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

Why Choose Duke

Nationally Renowned Specialized Services
People come from great distances to see our pediatric experts. Our children’s retina and optic nerve program is among just a handful of similar programs in the U.S.

Training and Experience Caring for Children
Our skilled surgeons work closely with pediatric anesthesiologists who have specialized training and experience caring for children during surgery. We are fully equipped to treat complex eye problems, including strabismus (eye muscle problems); eyelid, corneal, optic nerve, and retinal diseases; cataracts; and glaucoma in children.

Latest Retinal Imaging Devices
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) offers 3D views of the eye’s internal structures. Our researchers are pioneering new uses for OCT, including ways to better understand -- and hopefully to prevent -- blindness in premature babies with retinopathy of prematurity. Our OCT work allows us to more accurately diagnose other childhood retinal and optic nerve conditions and to recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Access to New Therapies
Your child may be eligible to participate in clinical trials to test new therapies for childhood eye disorders such as amblyopia and strabismus, cataracts, retinopathy of prematurity, and glaucoma. Our research, education, and technology development programs enable our doctors to offer you access to the latest breakthroughs in eye care.

This page was medically reviewed on 05/16/2022 by