Pediatric Eye Care

Good vision is essential for normal physical development and educational progress in growing children.

The visual systems of young children are not mature and equal input from both eyes is required for proper development of the brain’s visual centers. Without clear, focused images being sent to the developing brain, permanent, irreversible loss of vision may result. Vistar Eye Center and worldwide pediatric health associations recommend early vision screenings as the best opportunity for effective, inexpensive treatment.

Call 540-855-5100 to schedule an appointment at Vistar Children's Eye Center, conveniently located in Roanoke at 1819 Electric Road, Suite 1A, in the Metis Building (former Allstate) at the corner of Keagy Road. 

John M. Facciani, M.D. Allen Watson, M.D. 

Vision Screenings and Examinations by Age

At Vistar, children's eye examinations screen for “normal vision” according to age. In normal vision, both eyes aim at the same spot. Then, the brain fuses the two pictures into a single 3-D image, creating depth perception. A comprehensive eye exam checks for equal and “normal vision” in both eyes. If one eye has better vision than the other, or the eyes are misaligned, a professional will determine whether glasses, patching, or surgery will solve the problem. Even children who appear to see well and have completely straight eyes may have significant visual problems. Many cannot be corrected if they go untreated for too long.

Below, see Dr. John Facciani , a member of Vistar Eye Center's pediatric ophthalmology team, describe his "reason why" for choosing pediatric eye care and the importance of protecting children's vision.

Newborn Eye Exams

Newborns are screened for general eye health in the nursery. A pediatric ophthalmologist should examine all high-risk infants including those at risk for:

  • Retinopathy of prematurity or ROP (an eye disorder of premature infants)
  • Opacity of the ocular media (haziness of transparent eye fluids)
  • Nystagmus (purposeless rhythmic movement of the eyes)
  • Vision problems due to neuro-developmental delay (impaired growth of brain functions)
    • Retinoblastoma
    • Glaucoma
    • Cataracts in childhood
    • Retinal dystrophy/degeneration

Infants (6 months - 1 year)

All infants by six months to one year of age should be screened for ocular health by a properly trained health care provider such as an ophthalmologist, pediatrician, family physician, nurse or physician assistant during routine well-baby follow-up visits.

Toddler Eye Exams (3-5 years)

Vision is screened again 2 and 3 years of age. Vision and alignment are assessed by a pediatrician, family practitioners, ophthalmologists, and optometrists. Visual acuity (clear and sharp vision) should be checked as soon as a child is cooperative enough for the exam. Usually, this is between 2 ½ – 3 ½ years old. Be sure to test for visual acuity by age 5.

School Aged Children Eye Exams

Further screening and exams are done in routine school health checks or after the appearance of symptoms. Many serious conditions are treatable if identified in the preschool and early school-aged years. Since most are associated with a positive family history, additional screening emphasis should target high-risk infants and children.

Looking for a fun way to help your child get ready for their first eye exam? Download this eBook, 'Howard and the Amazing Eye Exam', that shows that your child's first visit to the eye exam can be lots of fun!

click to download!