UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Ophthalmology service provides comprehensive evaluation, consultation and proven treatments for all aspects of routine and complex pediatric eye disease.
The family-friendly environment welcomes young patients into a comforting world of toys and reassuring smiles. Exams are skillfully performed with child-appropriate equipment in a calm setting.
Part of the UC Davis Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, the service has access to the extensive diagnostic resources of the department. Physicians are able to consult and collaborate with department subspecialists as needed.
Fellowship-trained pediatric ophthalmologists stay informed of the full range of child and adolescent eye disorders and are involved in ongoing research on emerging new treatments for such visual disturbances as:
- Focusing and refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, which can often be corrected with prescriptions for glasses
- Amblyopia, or lazy eye, the result of the vision of one eye being significantly better than the other eye, so that the brain begins to rely on the better eye and ignore the weaker one
- Child and adult strabismus, a misalignment in which both eyes do not look at the same point at the same time, resulting in an inward-turning gaze that is sometimes called crossed-eyes or squint
- Genetic disorders
- Congenital conditions, including childhood glaucoma
- Childhood cataracts
- Infections (conjunctivitis)
- Blocked tear ducts
Pediatric ophthalmologists are trained to focus on development of the visual system in children and on ocular diseases that disrupt that development. They’re qualified to perform complex eye surgery and to manage children’s eye problems using glasses and medications.
Many physicians refer young patients to pediatric ophthalmologists for examination and management of eye problems due to children’s unique needs. In addition to children with obvious vision problems, children with head turns, head tilts, squinting of the eyes, or preferred head postures (torticollis) are typically referred to pediatric ophthalmologists for evaluation.
Heading up the hospital’s pediatric ophthalmology team is Professor Mary O’Hara, whose clinical interests focus on the treatment of amblyopia and strabismus, as well as cataracts and other anterior segment disorders. A member of both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics, her philosophy of care is to make sure that patients and their families are treated with respect, all aspects of care are explained to families, and their input is elicited.
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Nandini Gandhi specializes in the evaluation and treatment of such conditions as amblyopia, strabismus, congenital cataracts, and nasolacrimal duct obstruction.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children have their vision checked by a physician at every well-child examination and that children with vision problems be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for further assessment. Those with a family history of amblyopia or strabismus should be checked by an ophthalmologist by age three.