Our ophthalmologists and optometrists in North Carolina offer comprehensive pediatric eye care services at our two locations in Fayetteville. From school eye exams and neonatal ICU exams to pediatric eye muscle surgery, we help keep children’s eyes healthy and their vision clear. At Cape Fear Eye Associates, we are dedicated to providing the entire family with high-quality eye and vision care.
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Pediatric Eye Exams
Because the eyes develop rapidly during the first two years of a child’s life, it is important to screen children for potential eye and vision problems so that any issues can be treated early while the eyes are still developing. The earlier pediatric eye diseases are detected and treated, the better the chances are for correction. Our ophthalmologists and optometrists specialists in North Carolina provide complete pediatric eye exams for newborns, premature babies, toddlers, and children up to 12 years of age. We screen and provide treatment for pediatric eye diseases and refractive errors, including the following:
Strabismus (Misaligned Eyes)
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Eye Exam
Infants born prematurely (at or under 32 weeks) or that weigh less than three pounds are at risk for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition that occurs when the development of the retina is disrupted. This condition causes retinal blood vessels to grow abnormally, branching out and causing bleeding inside the eye. Bleeding and scarring can lead to further damage such as a detached retina, severe nearsightedness, and “lazy” eyes or “crossed” eyes. In the worst cases, ROP causes blindness.
The ophthalmologists of Cape Fear Eye Associates in North Carolina perform neonatal ICU eye exams in order to check for ROP and treat it in its earliest stages, preventing extensive damage from occurring. Treatment of ROP usually requires laser therapy preformed in the ICU to inhibit the progression of abnormal blood vessel growth and bleeding.
However, even after laser therapy, infants with ROP remain vulnerable to other eye disorders throughout their lives. As they mature throughout childhood and into adulthood, their eyes should be checked regularly for changes in vision and structure. Contact the ophthalmologists of Cape Fear Eye Associates, located in North Carolina, if you have questions about retinopathy of prematurity or neonatal ICU eye exams.
Infant Eye Exams (age 6-12 months)
Although a newborn has his or her first eye exam before being released from the hospital at birth, at six months of age, the infant should taken to an ophthalmologist or optometrist to have a repeat exam. During the exam, the infant will be screened for a number of eye conditions, including strabismus (cross-eye), congenital cataracts, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
First Comprehensive Eye Exam (Yearly following Infant Eye Exam)
Between the ages of three and four, the child’s color vision, depth perception, and visual acuity should be checked. At Cape Fear Eye Associates, we use eye charts with letters, numbers, and pictures and ask questions that the child can respond to in order to make an assessment of his or her vision. We check for refractive errors, alignment errors, and other general eye health problems such as congenital cataracts and glaucoma.
School-Age Eye Exam (age 5)
Vision plays a central role in the learning process, so it important that children have their eyes examined just before or at the start of their first year of school. And while many schools provide children with eye exams, they are typically not as comprehensive as exams provided by ophthalmologists or optometrists. At Cape Fear Eye Associates, we will screen your child for general eye health problems and refractive errors. Your child’s color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, visual acuity, and eye alignment will be checked as well. If any problems are found, we can provide the proper treatment so that your child can begin school well prepared for success. School-age children should receive repeat eye exams every one to two years or sooner, if they have an existing condition.
Pediatric Eye Muscle Surgery (to Treat Strabismus)
When the eyes are properly aligned, they focus on the same spot in their field of vision. The brain fuses these two images together to create a single, three-dimensional image. Healthy eyes have binocular vision. Strabismus, informally called “cross-eye” or “lazy eye,” occurs when the eyes are misaligned and binocular vision cannot be achieved. Strabismus affects about 3 percent of children.
When a child is affected by strabismus, the eyes focus on separate spots in their field of vision, resulting in reduced depth perception and sometimes double vision, depending on the severity of the condition. If strabismus is left untreated, the brain may even begin to suppress the images produced by one of the eyes, thereby causing “lazy” eye.
Our ophthalmologists in North Carolina provide a number of therapies to treat strabismus and amblyopia (lazy eye) in children, including eye muscle surgery. When simpler therapies such as corrective glasses, the use of an eye patch, or BOTOX® injections are not sufficiently effective in helping the child to achieve binocular vision, eye muscle surgery may be needed to align the eyes and prevent vision loss.
Pediatric eye muscle surgery to correct strabismus involves a small incision in the membrane covering the white portion of the eye. The muscles that are causing the misalignment are detached and then reattached to a slightly different position so as to increase or decrease muscle tension, as needed. Once the eye muscles have been adjusted, the alignment of the eyes improves, resulting in better vision for the child.
Contact Our Pediatric Optometrist/Ophthalmologists Today
Cape Fear Eye Associates provides comprehensive family eye care including complete pediatric ophthalmology. Our ophthalmologists have two North Carolina locations that offer child eye exams, eyeglasses, and corrective vision therapies. Contact Cape Fear Eye Associates today to schedule your child’s comprehensive eye exam.