Specialized Vision Care For Our Smallest Patients
Why Is Vision Care For My Child So Important?
Vision is one of the most important ways that children take in the world around them, whether in the classroom or at play. In fact, nearly 80% of all learning is done through the visual system. When a child has healthy vision, they can focus unfettered on their interests and hobbies, excel in school and reach their highest ambitions. At Wilmington Eye, our experienced pediatric team offers specialized vision care for children of all ages to ensure healthy vision and success in everything your child does.
More Than Just Seeing Clearly
A comprehensive eye exam can ensure your child sees clearly. But healthy vision is so much more than just seeing clearly. Our pediatric team will evaluate how your child’s eyes work together as a team, how they focus, test coordination, and identify the presence of ocular diseases such as strabismus or amblyopia, which are common eye diseases among children. We also understand that children can be apprehensive about seeing the eye doctor. Our pediatric team of doctors and technicians work with both you and your child to ensure the process is fun, educational, and medically beneficial.
Visual acuity has to do with how well your eyes see at up close distances, intermediate distances, and far away distances. During a preventative eye care visit with our pediatric ophthalmologist or a pediatric optometrist, we can determine if your child has trouble seeing at any distance. If a refractive error is diagnosed, such as nearsightedness (also referred to as myopia) or farsightedness (also referred to as hyperopia), we will work with our licensed opticians to find the right glasses for your child.
Eye teaming is the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together as a team. It’s important for both of our eyes to be performing at the same rate, sharing the workload. When one eye is stronger than the other, children run the risk of losing function in one of their eyes as the brain slowly shuts down the weaker eye. Unfortunately, regular vision screenings by a pediatrician do not test for eye teaming. During a preventative eye care visit with our doctors, we’ll identify how well your child’s eyes perform as a team and ensure both eyes are equally strong.
Being able to follow along when reading or following an object that’s in motion, like a thrown baseball, are another important part of healthy vision. Oftentimes, children may have issues with tracking out of one eye, which may be a sign of strabismus. As the muscles that help move your child’s eye falter, it can lead to permanent damage and even vision loss.
There are many ocular diseases that are common among children. These include strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes, or amblyopia, more commonly referred to as lazy eye. Our pediatric team will evaluate your child for any ocular diseases that might be present and develop a treatment plan suitable for the patient.
Comprehensive Eye Exams for Children
Your child’s comprehensive eye exam will include a review of their medical history, a vision check, and a refraction. A refraction is the process of determining if prescription lenses are needed to achieve the best vision for your child. The technician may also check the intraocular pressure of the eyes. Patients are dilated annually with dilating drops. Our technicians are experienced in working to make the process of instilling drops as easy as possible. The drops take approximately 30-40 minutes to take effect. If any special tests are needed, they will be obtained during this time. Then, the doctor performs an exam to look at the overall health of the eye, including the cornea, optic nerve and retina. The doctor will then review the findings with you and go over any questions you may have.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR CHILD’S APPOINTMENT
- We’ll take you and your child back to an exam room and review the medical history.
- Your ophthalmic technician will do a thorough vision check.
- Your technician may check your intraocular pressure.
- Dilation drops will be administered at your child’s annual exam.
- Dilation takes approximately 30-40 minutes.
- If any special testing is needed, it will be performed at this time.
- As a room becomes available, we’ll take you back to the exam room for an evaluation with the doctor.
- Your provider will look at the back of the eye including the retina, optic nerve and lens.
- If you have any questions or concerns, they’ll be reviewed at this point and a plan to follow-up will be made.
To determine how your child’s eyes focus, the doctor will typically perform a refraction on all new patients and repeat it on a yearly basis thereafter. Most private medical insurance companies will not cover the refraction fee, although it is considered an essential part of the comprehensive eye exam. Our fee for the refraction is $60.00 and is collected in addition to any co-payments, deductibles, or coinsurance that you may owe for the medical portion of your eye exam.
To complete a full exam (applies to all new patients and yearly exams for established patients), we will be placing dilating drops into your child’s eyes. This allows the doctor to examine the inside of the eyes and helps to determine how well your child can see. This is generally done once a year. Our technicians are experienced in administering drops, so they will work with you and your child to make this process as smooth as possible.