At Maine Eye Center, our pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Jeffrey Berman, provides comprehensive eye care for infants and children. He understands the unique vision needs children have at different stages of development and works closely with patients and their families to ensure the best possible eye health.
What is Pediatric Ophthalmology?
Pediatric ophthalmology is a subspecialty of ophthalmology that deals with eye and vision conditions in children. Pediatric ophthalmologists have additional training and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders that specifically affect infants and children.
Dr. Berman examines the eyes for vision problems and eye conditions that may interfere with a child’s development or lead to permanent vision loss. He also monitors eye and visual development at well-child visits to ensure good vision is maintained as kids grow.
What Happens During a Pediatric Eye Exam?
A pediatric eye exam is crucial for diagnosing vision problems early when they are most treatable. At Maine Eye Center, our comprehensive pediatric eye exams include:
Ocular Health Evaluation
Dr. Berman will examine the internal and external structures of the eyes using a slit lamp, which is a special microscope that can allow eye doctors to get a closer view of the eye. This allows them to check for eye conditions and other abnormalities.
Visual Acuity Testing
He will assess the child’s visual sharpness by having them identify letters or shapes on an eye chart. This test helps determine if there are any refractive errors or need for visual aids like glasses.
Eye Alignment and Movement Evaluation
Dr. Berman will also observe how well your child’s eyes work together and follow objects. This screens for amblyopia or strabismus.
If needed, your child’s eye doctor will perform a refraction to find the proper corrective lenses for them.
Dilation Eye Drops
At Maine Eye Center, we use safe pediatric eye drops to dilate the pupils in order to thoroughly inspect the eyes.
After a pediatric eye exam, Dr. Berman will explain all his findings and recommend treatment plans tailored to your child’s specific needs. Annual exams help us monitor eye health milestones as your child grows.
What Are Some of the Most Common Pediatric Eye Conditions?
Some of the most common vision and eye conditions your eye doctor can look for during a pediatric eye exam include:
Also called “lazy eye,” amblyopia happens when the brain favors one eye over the other due to vision problems in the weaker eye. If untreated, amblyopia can cause permanent vision impairment.
There are options to treat amblyopia, such as patching the stronger eye to improve the weaker eye’s vision.
Congenital and Traumatic Cataracts
Cataracts in infants or children can be congenital, which means they are present at birth, or develop after an eye injury. Cataracts block light and keep the eyes from focusing properly, causing blurry vision or cloudy areas in the field of vision.
Pediatric cataract surgery is often needed to remove the clouding and restore clear sight.
Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are common in children. Uncorrected refractive errors can lead to amblyopia or eye strain.
Dr. Berman expertly corrects refractive errors with glasses or contact lenses.
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
ROP is an abnormal development of retinal blood vessels in premature infants that can distort vision. Dr. Berman can carefully monitor at-risk babies for ROP, which is treatable with laser surgery or medication if caught early.
Strabismus refers to misaligned eyes or eyes that do not properly work together to focus on objects. This results in the brain ignoring signals from the misaligned eye, potentially causing vision loss.
Early treatment of strabismus through glasses, patches, or eye muscle surgery can help realign the eyes.
Why Are Pediatric Eye Exams Important?
Routine comprehensive eye exams are a critical part of safeguarding your child’s vision. Eye exams allow your pediatric ophthalmologists to detect subtle vision problems and treat them as early as possible.
Amblyopia, misaligned eyes, focusing issues, and other conditions can be most effectively managed if caught in infancy or early childhood while the visual system is still developing. Undetected vision disorders can lead to permanent damage to their vision.
Your child may also be at higher risk for certain eye conditions if there is a family history of conditions like juvenile glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal issues. Pediatric eye exams allow your eye doctors to evaluate for these eye conditions before vision loss or damage occurs.
Kids’ eyes and vision change rapidly as they grow. Frequent pediatric eye exams ensure your child’s glasses or contact lens prescriptions stay accurately corrected for their current eyesight and focusing abilities.
Good vision correction is critical for healthy visual development. While your child may seem to see just fine, some problems can exist without outward symptoms.
Routine eye exams allow the detection of issues even when children have no complaints or difficulties with vision. Protecting your child’s eyesight begins with professional pediatric eye care.
At Maine Eye Center, your child’s vision is our top priority. We provide thorough pediatric eye care in a child-friendly environment so we can detect eye disorders early and prescribe effective treatments.
Our goal is to ensure your child enjoys healthy eyesight at every stage of development.
Is it time for your eye doctor to have an eye exam? Schedule an appointment at Maine Eye Center in Portland, ME, today!