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Paediatric ophthalmology is a specialised field that focuses on detecting and correcting vision problems and eye diseases in children. Children can be referred to a paediatric eye specialist for a range of common conditions that can cause poor eyesight, such as refractive error (which may mean that glasses are needed), squint (also called strabismus) and lazy eye (amblyopia). These problems may have been present from birth or could have developed as a child has grown up.
Once a child has been referred to an ophthalmologist in Adelaide, they will undergo a series of assessments to determine their visual function (which encompasses the clarity or sharpness of their vision), binocular function (how well both eyes works together), eye movements, and the overall health of their eyes. It might also be that their colour vision, field of vision and pupil reactions are tested. An eye specialist may also seek to determine whether a child has any other health disorders or injuries that may be impacting on the way their vision is developing.
The assessment process will usually involve dilation of the pupils with eye drops, so you can expect an initial assessment by a paediatric eye specialist to last anything up to two hours. If parents or carers have concerns that a child’s vision is not developing as it should be, or that a child is experiencing difficulty in being able to see clearly, it is important that you seek a referral to an ophthalmologist as soon as possible, as sooner the problems are discovered, the greater the range of treatment options that can be considered and better the outcomes.