Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

What is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist?

A pediatric ophthalmologist is an ophthalmologist who has undergone additional training in order to understand and treat the eyes and developing visual system of infants and children. In addition, because the surgical techniques involved in treating strabismus (muscle problems of the eyes) are best learned in a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship, these physicians often treat adult strabismus as well.

Weill Cornell Eye Associates offers comprehensive vision services for pediatric patients and adults with strabismus. Some conditions, such as amblyopia, are diagnosed and treated exclusively by a pediatric ophthalmologist; others require more of a team approach, with input from orthoptists, optometrists, and other specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. Our ophthalmology department has close relations with pediatric neurologists, neuro-radiologists, otolaryngologists, and neonatalogists, providing a continuity of care for any child with issues related to eyes and vision. Child-friendly physicians and staff, up-to-date diagnostic equipment and surgical techniques, and state-of-the art facilities all help us in our mission to provide excellent care for you or your child.

Common Pediatric Eye Problems:

For more information on any of the above conditions and disorders, please visit geteyesmart.org, the official eye health information website from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Which children should be seen by an ophthalmologist?

Healthy children without any known risk factors for eye disease should undergo age-appropriate screening examinations with their pediatricians and schools, and can be referred to an ophthalmologist as needed.

Children with parents or siblings with certain eye conditions, such as strabismus or amblyopia, may be at increased risk for these problems, even if they do not appear to have any difficulty with their eyes or vision. These children would benefit from an assessment with a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Children with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, blood problems, metabolic problems, and genetic diseases like neurofibromatosis, need to be examined regularly for eye problems.

Some serious eye problems have warning signs early in life. Poor vision, eye pain, changes in the shape or size of an eye, crossed or wandering eyes, or an abnormal appearance to the pupil of one or both eyes can all be signs of serious eye conditions and should be evaluated by a physician.

What takes place during a pediatric eye examination?

It is possible to learn much about a child's eye from an examination, even when the child is too young to read a wall chart. All eye examinations include an assessment of visual function, and an inspection of the eyes with a hand-held light or microscope. During an initial visit at Weill Cornell Eye Associates, even if your child has been seen by another eye doctor previously, almost every child will have his or her pupils dilated. As with an adult eye examination, dilating drops require 30 minutes to take effect, and will blur your child's vision to a mild degree for several hours. The pupils will be visibly dilated, sometimes for the rest of the day.


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