Pediatric Eye Care - Ophthalmology

Pediatric Ophthalmology Appointment FAQ

UW Health's pediatric eye care services professionals are devoted to the medical and surgical treatment of childhood eye disease and adult strabismus (eye muscle problems).

Why dilate the pupils?

Dilation of the pupils is an essential part of a complete eye examination. It is necessary to permit a complete evaluation of the inside parts of the eyes, as well as to accurately determine the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

Are dilating drops uncomfortable?

Dilating drops sting somewhat and feel similar to getting soapy water or swimming pool water in your eyes. The discomfort is usually short, lasting only about a minute.

How often is a repeat examination with pupil dilation needed?

Typically once a year.

What does someone experience while his/her pupils are dilated?

While the pupils are dilated, the eyes will be more sensitive to light, so we offer disposable sunglasses to our patients. Additionally, vision will be somewhat blurred, especially for seeing near objects. The drops usually take 40 minutes to work in children and 20 minutes in adults. The effect typically lasts from several hours to 24 hours. There are no permanent or lasting effects of the drops.

Why do I have to wait so long to be seen?

Our doctors want to provide all patients with the amount of time necessary to care for eye problems and to answer all questions. We frequently have no way of knowing in advance which patients will require a greater than average time with the staff. Our staff will attempt to let you know if there is an unusual delay. Also, unexpected emergencies must be worked into the busy clinic schedule.

Why do I see other people going into the exam area before me when I arrived first?

On most days there is more than one physician or orthoptist scheduled to see patients in the clinic, and patients for all these caregivers use the same waiting area. Additionally, some patients may have completed the dilation waiting period and are being called to fi nish their examination.

I am an adult. Why am I being seen in a pediatric eye clinic?

Pediatric ophthalmologists have expertise in treating eye muscle problems in children and adults. Many eye muscle problems begin in childhood and when an adult has a similar problem, it is often best treated by someone with that expertise. The Pediatric Eye and Adult Strabismus Clinic treats many adults with strabismus, as well as adults with certain genetic eye conditions.

Why do I see so many different people during my visit?

Our staff includes several caregivers who assist the ophthalmologist in your care. An orthoptist is a specially trained and certifi ed allied health professional who specializes in evaluating and caring for patients with eye muscle problems. This professional has special expertise in working with children regardless of their eye problem, as well as adults with strabismus. Pediatric ophthalmology fellows and residents are physicians receiving intensive training in the care of children’s eye problems and patients of all ages with strabismus. Nurses and technicians may also provide assistance during your visit.