Pediatric ophthalmology is a sub-speciality of ophthalmology concerned with eye diseases, visual development, and vision care in children.
Pediatric ophthalmologists focus on the development of the visual system and the various diseases that disrupt visual development in children. Pediatric ophthalmologists also have expertise in managing the various ocular diseases that affect children. Pediatric ophthalmologists are qualified to perform complex eye surgery as well as to manage children's eye problems using glasses and medications. Many ophthalmologists and other physicians refer pediatric patients to a pediatric ophthalmologist for examination and management of ocular 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 a pediatric ophthalmologist for evaluation. Pediatric ophthalmologists typically also manage adults with eye movement disorders (such as nystagmus or strabismus) due to their familiarity with strabismus conditions.
Frank D. Costenbader was an American physician frequently credited as the world's first pediatric ophthalmologist. Costenbader and Marshall M. Parks (his mentee who would later be known to many as "the father of pediatric ophthalmology") began the first ophthalmology fellowship trained program of any subspecialty at the Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., now known as the Children's National Medical Center. Parks trained many pediatric ophthalmologists during his career and was instrumental in the establishment of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, a national organization dedicated to improving the quality and management of pediatric ocular disease. Over time, over 30 programs were developed for the training of pediatric ophthalmologists throughout the United States. The American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus works with the American Academy of Pediatrics on issues related to pediatric eye disease and vision screening guidelines. Other notable pediatric ophthalmologists have included: Jack Crawford, John T. Flynn, David S. Friendly, Eugene R. Folk, David Guyton, Robison D. Harley, Eugene Helveston, Arthur Jampolsky, Barrie Jay, Phillip Knapp, Burton J. Kushner, Henry Metz, Marilyn T. Miller, John Pratt-Johnson, Arthur Rosenbaum, William E. Scott, Gunter K. von Noorden, and Mette Warburg.
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Journal of optometry : open access