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What Does a Pediatric Ophthalmologist Do?

A pediatric ophthalmologist might use eye drops to treatan infant's eye problem.
An ophthalmologist may prescribe eyeglasses, although he or she is a licensed medical doctor who performs a range of other services.
Article Details
  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A pediatric ophthalmologist specializes in treating the eye problems of children since this kind of doctor is likely to have training in both eye conditions and the treatment of kids. This type of ophthalmologist usually offers a variety of testing, ranging from eye examinations for glasses, to looking for abnormalities in the eyes in babies and children. The typical treatments include patches, eye drops, and medication for issues like inflammation, conjunctivitis, and lazy eye. If surgery is necessary, such as to treat cataracts or blocked tear ducts, a pediatric ophthalmologist can usually provide it.

An ophthalmologist is usually a good doctor to visit to get various types of testing done for both simple and complex reasons. For example, pediatric ophthalmologists can give an eye test before prescribing glasses to children, and can also test to find out whether the vision has changed from the year before. On the other hand, exams can also be given for more serious reasons, such as measuring misaligned eyes, or even determining whether there are parts of the eye that do not work properly. Testing for signs of juvenile diabetes or arthritis is also often the job of a pediatric ophthalmologist. Considering that many children are not very cooperative during such tests, especially infants, it is important that this type of doctor know how to deal well with young patients.

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Children are subject to various eye injuries and diseases, unfortunately. The good news is that a pediatric ophthalmologist can usually help through different types of treatment. For example, this doctor often treats conjunctivitis, or pink eye, which is common in children. He can also check for inflammation due to injury or conditions like arthritis, and also provides treatment for conditions like glaucoma, corneal scratches, and astigmatism. Lazy eye is another condition that some children may suffer from, but this kind of doctor can usually fix the problem using treatments like an eye patch, eye drops, and glasses.

Some conditions that children may present with are too severe for typical treatment, requiring surgery. The typical pediatric ophthalmologist knows how to complete surgery for the more common conditions in children, such as blocked tear ducts, misaligned eyes, and damage due to eye injuries. Some children also suffer from glaucoma, cataracts, or droopy eyelids, which can typically be fixed using the appropriate surgery. In fact, one of the main differences between ophthalmologists and optometrists is that the former can perform surgery, which is often helpful when treating children with eye injuries or diseases.

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