Pediatric Ophthalmology

Rely on Essentia Health for comprehensive pediatric eye care. Our pediatric eye doctor focuses on complex eye problems in newborns, toddlers, and children, including lazy eye and crossed eyes.

What’s a Pediatric Ophthalmologist?

A pediatric ophthalmologist is an eye doctor who has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions in children from birth to adulthood.

When to See a Pediatric Ophthalmologist

Your child should see a pediatric eye doctor if they have:

  • Eye swelling or eye pain
  • Vision loss
  • Crossing of the eyes or both eyes looking opposite ways
  • Eyes that are not working the same
  • Ongoing tearing
  • Other flaws to the eye

Optometrists and Ophthalmologists

If your child is healthy and needs a regular eye exam, they should see an optometrist. Optometrists are vision specialists who prescribe glasses and contact lenses.

When Should Kids Get Regular Eye Exams?

Child eye exams should start from the time your child is born. Your pediatrician or family medicine doctor will often do simple eye exams. If needed, they’ll refer you to an eye doctor. Ask your child’s primary care doctor what’s best for your child based on their age and health. 

6 – 12 Months

Your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist will look for:

  • Excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
  • Eye movement ability
  • Eye health concerns

3 Years Old

Your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist will:

  • Make sure vision is developing properly
  • Check for evidence of eye disease
  • If needed, prescribe eyeglasses and/or vision therapy to correct vision development concerns

5 Years Old or Before Entering School 

Your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist will:

  • Complete an eye exam similar to the one conducted at age 3
  • Compare test results to determine how well your child’s vision is developing

Signs of Eye & Vision Problems 

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Avoiding reading and other close activities
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing place when reading
  • Difficulty remembering what was read

Conditions Treated

See the full list of conditions we treat, and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.


What to Expect During Your Visit

Our pediatric eye doctor knows there’s an art to getting health information from a child. No matter your child’s age, you’ll find our approach gentle yet thorough. During a typical visit:

  • A technician will take you to a room and ask family history questions.
  • Many times, the eye doctor will use pain-free eye drops to dilate the eyes, or make the pupils grow. The technician or doctor may also check pressure in the eyes.
  • The technician or doctor will conduct an eye exam. They may use pictures or movies on an eye chart instead of letters while checking vision. If needed, they’ll also prescribe glasses.
  • The doctor may also use toys to help ease any anxiety.

Eye Care for Premature Babies

It’s common for babies born too early to have a condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). This is where there are abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Most babies with ROP don’t need treatment and grow up to have healthy eyes. In extreme cases, babies may need treatment to prevent vision loss. Our pediatric eye doctor is an expert at caring for babies in our newborn intensive care unit who have ROP.  

Make An Appointment

Duluth Clinic 2nd Street Building
Call 218-786-8364

Hibbing Clinic
Call 218-263-1000

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