Diseases and conditions of the eye can develop at any age and must be detected early in order to stop progression. At Nevada Eye Care Physicians, we provide pediatric ophthalmology for younger patients, which can include routine eye exams, diagnostic testing, and various treatments if necessary. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology both recommend timely screening of children to better detect eye problems. During a pediatric eye examination, conditions such as sight and vision problems can also be detected and treated early. If your child develops any abnormal symptoms in their eyes or experience vision loss, do not hesitate to contact one of our Nevada locations to schedule a pediatric eye exam with one of our trained eye care physicians.
Pediatric Eye Conditions
There are several common eye conditions that can develop in infants and children. Our eye care professionals diagnose and treat several conditions including:
- Strabismus (wandering eye)
- Ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid)
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Congenital glaucoma
- Congenital cataracts
- Infections, such as conjunctivitis
Pediatric Eye Exams
During the first year of life the pediatrician checks your child’s eyes, but all children should have a complete eye exam by the start of kindergarten. The child should be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a more specialized eye exam if a problem is detected. Many serious eye problems that affect children can be diagnosed during an eye examination at that time.
Pediatric eye care exams can include any of the following tests:
Inspection of the Eye – The doctor will inspect the eyes and eyelids and test various muscle movements. The pupils will also be checked and the reflection of light from the back of the eye will be evaluated.
Corneal Light Reflex Test – The doctor will use a small flashlight to look at the front of the eye or cornea where light is reflected. Ideally, the light should be in sharp focus and centered on both pupils. The test result is abnormal if the corneal light reflex isn’t crisp.
Cover Test – This test determines if the eyes are misaligned. While the child is looking into a bright light, the optometrist covers one eye at a time and looks for a shift in the eyes.
Acuity Test – An age-appropriate visual acuity test uses an eye chart and the child reads lines of characters. Each eye will be tested separately.
The pediatric ophthalmologist may recommend treatments of the following:
- Congenital glaucoma and congenital cataracts may both be treated surgically.
- Eye infections can most likely be cleared up with antibiotic drops. Occasionally, oral medication is needed for more serious infections.
- For the correction of amblyopia (lazy eye) and to help strengthen the weak eye, a patch is placed over the weak eye. Occasionally eye drops are used to blur the vision of the strong eye to cause the child to use the weak eye. Glasses may be prescribed to correct errors in focusing.
- Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes are not perfectly aligned. A child with strabismus can be “cross-eyed” (esotropic) or “wall-eyed” (exotropic). Corrective lenses can be used to improve vision in some cases. Other types may require surgery.
- Drooping eyelids, or ptosis, can be treated with surgery.
After the examination and diagnosis, your ophthalmologist will evaluate the best course of treatment for your child’s condition. Most often, nonsurgical treatment may be provided and tested before surgical options are recommended.
Proper eye care is important at any age, which is why Nevada Eye Physicians provides eye examinations and treatments for infants and children so that problems can be detected early. If you suspect that your child has an eye condition or if it is time for their routine eye exam, contact one of our Nevada locations today to schedule a pediatric eye exam.