Eye Problems

doctor examining a child's eye

When it comes to your child’s eyes, high-quality care is of the utmost importance. That’s because many vision problems and eye diseases can be corrected if detected and treated early. Pediatric eye problems are often very different from adult eye diseases and pediatric ophthalmologists (eye doctors who are also surgeons) are specially trained to manage and treat children's eye conditions.

Read More About Pediatric Eye Problems
Pediatric Eye Problems We Treat
  • amblyopia (lazy eye: with one weak eye and one strong one)
  • blocked tear ducts and defects (from the ducts not forming correctly)
  • pediatric glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve from a build-up of pressure in the eye)
  • pediatric cataract (a clouding of the eye’s lens)
  • eye injuries
  • ptosis (drooping eyelid)
  • refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
  • retinopathy of prematurity (a disease that occurs in premature babies and causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina)
  • retinoblastoma (a type of tumor involving the retina)
  • retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other retinal dystrophies (diseases that cause damage to the retina
  • strabismus (wandering eye or “cross eyes”)
Signs of Pediatric Eye Problems

Children whose parents or siblings have eye conditions, such as strabismus or amblyopia, are more likely to have these eye disorders themselves, even if they don't have obvious signs of pediatric eye problems.

If your child has a certain medical condition such as diabetes, or a genetic disease like neurofibromatosis, it's a good idea to have regular pediatric eye exams with a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Early signs of serious pediatric eye problems, which should be evaluated by a doctor, include:

  • poor vision
  • eye pain
  • changes in the shape or size of an eye
  • crossed or wandering eyes
  • abnormal appearance of the pupil of one or both eyes

Genetic conditions can often cause eye problems in children. In these cases, our pediatric ophthalmologists collaborate with multi-disciplinary Nemours teams who treat children with genetic syndromes.

If your child is healthy and has no known risk factors for pediatric eye problems, then age-appropriate screening examinations with your primary care provider should be sufficient. If further evaluations are indicated, your child can be referred to our ophthalmologists as needed.

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington

1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
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For Appointments: (302) 651-4200

What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Forms & Resources
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families

Nemours Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology's expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric eye problems and injuries draws patients and their families from around the country and the world to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Nemours Pediatric Ophthalmology: Care That's Truly Compassionate

When you bring your child to our Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology, you will find that our eye care team takes the time to explain each step of pediatric eye exams (e.g., how eye drops work and feel) and do all they can to help you and your child feel comfortable.

See a List of Diagnostic Pediatric Eye Exams
Pediatric Eye Exams Using Equipment Just for Kids

Using the latest diagnostic techniques and equipment adapted just for children, we provide comprehensive in-office pediatric eye exams that
may include:

Retinal and eye photography

By taking a digital image of the back of the eye, we are able to examine parts of the retina in a way that's not possible with conventional instruments. This allows us to detect problems and monitor the retina for any signs of damage that could result in vision reduction or loss.

Visual field testing

Assessing your child’s field of vision can help determine whether he or she has problems with peripheral, or side vision, which can sometimes be an indicator of eye diseases such as glaucoma.

Ocular ultrasonography

An ultrasound that produces a 2-D image of the eye and its surrounding tissues can show any growths or other structural abnormalities. If a more in-depth study is needed, a CT scan or MRI may also be ordered.

Electroretinogram (ERG) Study

This test is used to diagnose and monitor hereditary and ischemic (due to inadequate oxygen) retinal disorders, before or after the child is symptomatic. The test helps in the diagnosis of:

  • Retinal Dystrophy
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa (a group of hereditary diseases of the retina)
  • Usher Syndrome (a combination of hearing loss and retinitis pigmentosa)
  • Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (a severe abnormality of the retina present from birth)
  • Stationary Night Blinding Disorders
  • Best Disease (a progressive form of macular [central point of the retina] dystrophy)
Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) Studies

A specialized electroencephalogram used to detect abnormalities related to electrical activity of the brain.

VEP Studies help diagnose and monitor optic nerve disorders, visual acuity problems and other medical conditions that affect the eyes like:

  • Optic Neuritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Compressive Optic Neuropathy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Unexplained Visual Acuity Loss

Help Before Your Baby Is Born

Some pediatric eye problems can be diagnosed before birth and our doctors are pioneers in diagnosing ophthalmic disorders in utero.

Learn more about Nemours Partners for Perinatal Management, which works with expectant parents facing a possible congenital (present at birth) condition.

Specialized Training in Pediatric Ophthalmology

Nemours pediatric ophthalmologists (meaning they've completed a residency in pediatric ophthalmology and are trained specifically in pediatric eye problems) offer comprehensive eye examinations and testing in order to diagnose and treat infant, childhood, and adolescent eye disorders. And, if needed, they have the skill and experience to perform pediatric eye surgery.

Teaming Up With Your Child's Doctor & Other Nemours Specialists

Because some pediatric eye problems can be related to specific medical conditions, our pediatric ophthalmology team often collaborates with other Nemours medical specialists. State-of-the-art electronic health records (EHR) and digital photography make it easy to share eye test results and treatment plans with our specialists, and your child’s primary care doctor.

And to make things easier for you as a parent or guardian, we'll do our best to coordinate your child's visit with other specialty appointments as needed.