PEDIATRIC OPTHAMOLOGIST | PEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGY
What is a Pediatric Opthamologist and where can I find one ?
A Pediatric Opthamologist is a speciality of ophthalmology concerned withthe eye diseases and development of the eye of children. In the US, pediatric opthamologists (ophthalmologists) must complete medical school, plus a 1-year internship, followed by a 3-year residency in ophthalmology, and a 1-2 year fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology. Frank D. Costenbader was an American physician frequently credited as the world’s first pediatric ophthalmologist. Pediatric Opthamologists in the USA are accredited by the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
What does a Pediatric Opthamologist do?
Pediatric ophthalmologists are trained in the development of the visual system of children. Pediatric Opthamologists are also experts in the the various ocular diseases in children. Pediatric ophthalmologists are fully qualified to perform eye surgery of all kinds. Also, children with head tilts, squinting of the eyes, or with preferred head postures (torticollis) are also often referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for specialist evaluation.
GLOSSARY OF CHILDRENS’ EYE PROBLEMS:
A Pediatric Opthamologist must be able to deal with the most common eye diseases in children. These include:
Infections (‘Pink Eye’, conjunctivitis).
Amblyopia (aka lazy eye) occurs when the vision of one eye is significantly better than the other eye, and the brain begins to rely on the better eye and ignore the weaker one. Amblyopia affects 4% of the population and is clinically diagnosed when the refractive error of one eye is more than 1.5 diopters different than the other eye. The management of amblyopia involves correcting of significant refractive errors and using techniques that encourage the brain to pay attention to the weaker eye such as patching the stronger eye.(occlusion therapy)
Blocked tear ducts.
Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes that affects 2-4% of the population; it is often associated with amblyopia. The inward turning gaze commonly referred to as “crossed-eyes” is an example of strabismus. The term strabismus applies to other types of misalignments, including an upward, downward, or outward turning eye.
Retinopathy of prematurity.
Abnormal vision development.
Refractive errors such as myopia (near-sightedness) and astigmatism can often be corrected with prescriptions for glasses or contacts.
Genetic eye disorders. Since approximately 30% of genetic syndromes affect the eyes, examination by a pediatric ophthalmologist can help with the diagnosis of genetic conditions. Many pediatric ophthalmologists participate with multi-disciplinary medical teams that treat children with genetic syndromes.
Congenital malformations affecting vision or the tear drainage duct system can be evaluated and possibly surgically corrected by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Convergence insufficiency and asthenopia.
Evaluation of visual issues in education, including dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.
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