Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Eye Diseases
Prompt identification of childhood eye and vision problems is often the best way to preserve or regain vision. This applies to common pediatric eye conditions such as refractive error requiring eyeglasses, amblyopia (or lazy eye) and strabismus (eyes that are not straight), as well as serious eye conditions such as childhood cataract, glaucoma, 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.
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 eye drops. However, if childhood glaucoma, cataract, 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 physicians to become pediatric eye surgeons and lecture worldwide on the latest advances in pediatric eye care. They also engage in research to develop new and better treatments for eye care that are followed around the world.
At Duke, your child has access to a wide range of eye specialists including:
- Ophthalmologists trained in the medical and surgical management of childhood eye conditions including glaucoma, cataracts, and prematurity-related eye problems;
- Pediatric optometrists who use the latest diagnostic equipment and perform regular eye exams to assess your child’s vision and eye health; and prescribe corrective lenses 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;
- Vitreoretinal specialists who work in our Pediatric Retina and Optic Nerve Center, one of only a handful in the U.S. with the 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 the facial structures surrounding the eye to improve your child’s appearance following cancer, trauma or congenital defects.
Specialized Services for Pediatric Eye Diseases
- Our child-friendly center puts your family at ease. Children often become anxious or impatient while waiting to see the doctor. Our child-friendly waiting room and clinical spaces are equipped with movies, books, and toys, as well as space to move around. The environment reduces stress for the whole family.
- Your care is coordinated for maximum convenience. Our pediatric ophthalmologists, optometrists, and orthoptists 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 your care and maximize your convenience.
- You benefit from our supportive environment. We offer patient support services, including educational materials and programs, a vision rehabilitation program, and have a social worker working with us who can help your family cope with and manage your child’s condition.
- Our specialized services are nationally renowned. People come from all over the U.S. and the world to see our pediatric experts. Our center for children’s retinal disorders is among just a handful of similar centers in the U.S.
- Our ORs and staff focus on pediatric ophthalmology. Our skilled surgeons work closely with pediatric anesthesiologists who have specialized training and experience caring for children during surgery. Additionally, we are expertly equipped to care for and treat complex eye problems, including eye muscle, corneal, glaucoma and retinal diseases in children.
- We use powerful imaging devices. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) offers 3-D 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.
- Your child may have 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.