What Does A Pediatric Optometrist Do?

Does your child have a difficult time learning or reading? Have you noticed that one of your child’s eyes turns out or in?

A pediatric optometrist is an eye doctor specifically trained to treat children. These eye doctors can diagnose, treat, prevent, and manage certain conditions that can affect the vision and eyes of children.

Pediatric optometrists are also skilled at identifying subtle signs of eye conditions that babies or toddlers can’t describe. Keep reading to learn more about what a pediatric optometrist does!

Services Provided by Pediatric Optometrist

Many vision problems can occur while your child’s eyes are still developing. If left untreated, vision issues can interfere with the safety and life of your child.

Pediatric optometrists offer a range of services to ensure your child’s eyes stay healthy and strong. Some of the services provided include:

  • Eye exams
  • Diagnosing visual developmental disorders
  • Treating eye injuries
  • Prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Developing treatment plans for certain eye conditions

Pediatric optometrists have the ability to treat many eye conditions that may arise during childhood. However, if your child needs surgery or has advanced cases of certain eye conditions, they will likely refer your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist for further care and treatment.

Warning Signs of Eye Problems in Children

It’s not always possible for you to tell if your child has a vision problem. While children will let you know if they’re feeling thirsty or hungry, they don’t often know to say that their vision is blurry.

You should take your child to a trusted pediatric optometrist if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Excessive blinking
  • Headaches
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Bulging eyes
  • Coordination problems
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Regular face turning or head tilting
  • Itchy, watery, or red eyes
  • Getting fatigued after reading or slower reading

Most pediatric optometrist offices are designed to ensure your child feels comfortable, less anxious, and more willing to see the doctor. The offices often provide reading materials, toys, and even videos for kids to calm them as they wait to see the pediatric optometrist.

Children’s Eye Conditions

There are many eye conditions that can develop in childhood. Here are some of the more common eye disorders in children that pediatric optometrists can diagnose treat:

Strabismus

Also known as crossed or squint eyes, strabismus happens when your child’s eyes don’t line up with each other. Strabismus can be due to a lack of coordination of the eye muscles, resulting in an imbalance.

You may notice that your child’s eyes turn outward, inward, downward, or upward. Some misalignments may occur in newborns or very young babies as their eyes are still trying to focus on one object.

If the misalignment lingers after four months, you should take your child to a pediatric optometrist. Strabismus doesn’t improve or disappear on its own without treatment.

There are various non-invasive treatments that your child’s eye doctor may suggest. If those don’t work, your pediatric optometrist may refer your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist, who can perform strabismus surgery if needed.

Amblyopia

Amblyopia is an eye condition that often begins in childhood. This eye condition happens when one eye has much poorer vision than the other eye.

In this situation, the brain often relies heavily on the good eye and begins not using the eye with the weaker vision. This can cause the eye to wander and begin to turn out or in, also known as lazy eye.

Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to improving the symptoms of this condition. If you notice any signs of amblyopia, take your child to a pediatric optometrist.

Timely detection and treatment of eye disorders are essential in preventing lifelong visual impairments. The expert and caring eye doctors at VisionFirst Eye Center Specialize in pediatrics.

Are you concerned that your child may have a vision problem? Schedule an appointment at VisionFirst Eye Center in Trussville, AL, today!

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