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Ophthalmology | Overview

The Department of Ophthalmology at Boston Children's Hospital offers the latest and best in diagnostics and care for children with vision problems, no matter how simple or complex. We specialize in treating cataracts in babies and children, traumatic eye injuries, juvenile glaucoma, and a variety of other conditions and focus on patient-centered care.

In pediatrics, patient-centered care is based on the understanding that the family is the child's primary source of strength and support, and the expert on that child's well-being. The perspectives and participation of patients and their families are an important part of the decisions made by our healthcare providers regarding each child. Patient-centered care means that the physicians, nurses and support staff take the time to listen to each patient and family. It means educating parents about their child's condition and treatment options, supporting them emotionally, providing resources and assistance, involving the patient and family in decisions, and advising based on what is best for each individual child. Patient-centered care leads to better health outcomes and results in patients and families feeling more satisfied with their hospital and medical care experience.

Notable features of the Department of Ophthalmology include:

  • A specialized Pediatric and Adult Strabismus Service for comprehensive evaluation and treatment of misaligned eyes (strabismus).
  • A Pediatric Cataract Service that is a national leader in surgery with nearly 50 operations each year on babies and children with cataracts.
  • A Retina Service that is known worldwide for its expertise in evaluating common and rare retinal degenerative conditions using state of the art diagnostic procedures, including electroretinogram (ERG) and visual evoked potential (VEP) testing.
  • An Orthoptic Service staffed by internationally-trained orthoptists, who specialize in evaluation and treatment of eye muscle problems. Our orthoptists work under the supervision of our pediatric ophthalmologists to recommend eye exercises when indicated and to perform measurements of strabismus and visual acuity in children of all ages.
  • A Pediatric Optometry Service to provide vision care specifically for patients with refractive concerns. Our fellowship-trained pediatric optometrists staff our Low Vision Service and the Contact Lens Service.
    • A Low Vision Service that provides visual aids, including magnifiers, telescopes, and closed circuit television for children with reduced vision.
    • A comprehensive Contact Lens Service that provides lenses for babies who have undergone cataract surgery and other specialty fits for babies and children of all ages.
  • Specialized ophthalmic equipment designed for children, including:
    • Child-friendly visual acuity testing computers that switch from pictures to letters and even to cartoons to adjust to the abilities and needs of each individual patient.
    • A supine YAG laser, which makes it possible for babies and children to undergo state-of-the-art laser surgery while under anesthesia to treat "after-cataract" with laser instead of incisional surgery.
    • A 23- and 25-gauge vitrectomy system to allow small-incision surgery to correct "after-cataract" when laser is not possible.
    • A RetCam, a child-friendly non-mydriatic digital fundus camera, and other digital imaging systems to help document and diagnose retinopathy of prematurity and other eye conditions as well as selected eye surgery cases.
    • A research eye scanner, developed here at Boston Children's Hospital, that detects even mild cases of strabismus that are easily missed during visits to the pediatrician. If left untreated, these mild cases can result in decreased vision over time.
    • An IOL Master for determining Intraocular lens power in children with cataracts

Our expertise

  • The Department of Ophthalmology at Boston Children’s is the largest group of full-time practicing pediatric ophthalmologists in the United States with 25 ophthalmologists, 8 optometrists, and 7 orthoptists on staff.  
  • Boston Children’s pediatric ophthalmologists lead their peers in research that’s advancing the way eye conditions are diagnosed and treated.
  • Our experts have pioneered specialized diagnostic and surgical techniques for babies and children.
  • We see more than 30,000 outpatients each year, and more than 1,200 surgical procedures are performed annually in our 11 specialty clinics

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