Pediatric ophthalmology addresses child eye disease, development, and care. Pediatric ophthalmologists have specialized training in childhood eye disease and vision development, and they are acutely qualified to help your child with any vision issues.
As a parent, you know there’s nothing better than looking at Albany and Corvallis through your child’s eyes. Everything seems fresh and hopeful to a child.
But did you know that some childhood vision diseases come with no symptoms? If you don’t catch them early, your child could have a much different view of the Willamette Valley than you do.
Let’s explain why all children should see vision experts and whom you can trust for pediatric ophthalmology in Corvallis and Albany.
Why Does Your Child Need an Eye Exam?
Almost 7 percent of kids younger than 18 years old have a diagnosed eye or vision issue. Many more have undiagnosed or hidden problems. An eye exam can bring these problems to light.
Common signs of vision or eye problems in children include the following:
- Eye strain or fatigue: Your child might complain of eye discomfort, avoid close reading, or give up on activities that involve visual acuity.
- Poor reading skills: Your child might struggle to remember what they read, or your child may lose their place while reading.
- Discomfort: Your child might rub their eyes, blink frequently, or complain of headaches.
- Unusual solutions: Your child may cover one eye, tilt the head to the side, or hold reading materials close to their face to see better.
- Changes in appearance: Your child’s eye may turn in or out.
While these issues could prompt any parent to seek help, know that your child could need an exam even when they seem healthy. Many eye and vision issues in children cause no symptoms or aren’t easy to spot.
Experts recommend routine screenings for children, so experts can spot problems before they cause permanent damage. The recommendations change per your child’s age.
- Newborns: Babies born too early or with signs of eye disease should see an eye doctor. If your family has a history of eye disease, a newborn exam is recommended too.
- Before age 36 months: Your child’s doctor will perform routine checks as part of your well-baby exams. If problems appear, you’ll be encouraged to visit an ophthalmologist.
- 3 to 5 years old: Your child should visit an ophthalmologist for an exam, even if your child’s eyes seem healthy. At this point, your child should see an eye expert every year.
What Is Pediatric Ophthalmology?
Pediatric ophthalmologists are medical doctors with specialized training in childhood eye disease and vision development. While any ophthalmologist can conduct an eye exam and diagnose disease, pediatric ophthalmologists are trained to work with children, and they’re well versed in the common issues kids face.
A pediatric ophthalmologist can do the following:
- Assess your child’s vision: Tests are age-appropriate, and they change as your child’s visual and verbal acuity grows. If your child needs glasses, your doctor can find the right lens strength.
- Check for strabismus: Many children struggle with eyes turning in and out. A pediatric ophthalmologist can help look for this issue and treat it.
- Conduct exams for underlying disease: Dilated exams help your doctor look for genetic issues, increased eye pressure, cataracts, glaucoma, and other significant eye problems.
- Provide medical treatments: Your pediatric ophthalmologist can write prescriptions, offer topical therapies, and suggest exercises to help your child’s eyes.
- Deliver surgical solutions: Some ophthalmologists are qualified to repair a child’s eye issues with surgery.
Why Visit a Pediatric Ophthalmologist?
In theory, you could take your child to any ophthalmologist in Albany and Corvallis. But a pediatric ophthalmologist has specialized training and experience general ophthalmologists can’t match.
For example, pediatric ophthalmologists alter their exam techniques for their small patients. They respect a child’s short attention span, and they try to move quickly while staying accurate. They know when to dilate a child’s eyes to find problems that could be masked as the eye grows.
A pediatric ophthalmologist has likely seen almost every eye disease a child could have. They are well equipped to talk to you about what results mean and what you should do next.
These experts also have kid-friendly waiting rooms that don’t seem overly clinical, and they usually have appropriately sized equipment for their smaller patients.
Health Insurance Benefits for Kids
Optometric care is considered an Affordable Care Act essential benefit. All individual and small group health insurance plans must provide coverage for vision services for children younger than 19.
If you have health insurance, it should cover an annual exam, all necessary follow-up care, and eyeglasses/contact lenses. Contact your health insurance company to find out what is and isn’t covered. And make sure the doctor you’ve chosen accepts payments from your insurance company.
If you don’t have health insurance or your plan doesn’t cover vision care, consider adding a vision policy for your child. Plenty of companies offer standalone vision insurance products you can add to your plan for just a few dollars per month.
Some pediatric ophthalmologists have payment options or financing for parents who don’t have coverage and can’t afford care. But it really depends on the office.
About Eyecare Associates
We believe children deserve quality pediatric ophthalmology services in Albany and Corvallis. We have several doctors that offer routine care for children, and we can address most childhood diseases that could negatively affect your child’s vision.
Our team is patient, kind, and caring. Trust us with your child’s vision. Contact us to set up a pediatric ophthalmology appointment today.
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School-Aged Vision: 6 to 18 Years of Age. American Optometric Association.
Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination. (2015). American Optometric Association.
Eye Screening for Children. (May 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
What Is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist? (November 2015). American Academy of Pediatrics.
Pediatric Ophthalmologist. (January 2021). American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
Know the Basics of a Pediatric Eye Exam. (June 2021). Optometry Times.
Children’s Vision Benefits Under the ACA. Optometry Association of Louisiana.
Pediatric Ophthalmology: The Oldest Ophthalmology Subspecialty. (November–December 2011). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
Common Eye Problems Among Children. (July 2010). London Journal of Primary Care.
A Closer Look at Pediatric Eye Disease. (March 2014). Ophthalmology.