the eye institute of west florida


Greater Pinellas County, FL Pediatric Ophthalmology Specialist

Pediatric Eye Doctor of The Eye Institute of West Florida

The Eye Institute of West Florida is committed to providing high-quality eye care for children and the entire family. 

Our pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Byrd, is experienced in treating a variety of childhood eye conditions. She uses advanced diagnostic tools, surgery and treatments, along with a gentle touch, to care for young eyes. Schedule an appointment for your child at The Eye Institute of West Florida today! 

Treating Children’s Vision Conditions

Children can develop their own unique set of vision issues and eye diseases that can require specialized care and surgery. 

Your pediatrician or family doctor can perform routine vision screenings to check your little one for signs of any eye problems. If your child needs an additional examination or treatment, you might be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist. 

Common Pediatric Eye Diseases and Conditions

Common children’s eye conditions include: 

  • Amblyopia (Lazy eye)
  • Eye misalignment (Strabismus) 
  • Pediatric cataracts
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Eye trauma or injury
  • Retinopathy of prematurity 

When detected at an early age, most childhood eye problems can be treated, improved upon, or corrected altogether. 

Early diagnosis may also help to protect your child’s eye health long-term. Vision is essential to your children’s educational and physiological growth.

Contact the Eye Institute of West Florida today. 

Symptoms of Common Childhood Eye Conditions

Observing your child’s eyes and paying attention to how your child behaves is very important for early detection of childhood eye problems. 

Unusual behavior can be a warning sign of eye problems in kids. Commonly closing one eye, frequently rubbing their eyes, excessive tearing of the eyes, or tilting their head to see things can start to indicate vision issues. 

School-age children may complain of things looking blurry in the classroom, or not being able to see the board. Behaviors can also be seemingly unrelated to vision but actually be caused by childhood eye problems. Look out for behaviors such as your child avoiding reading, falling behind in school, or sitting too close to the television. Watch for warning signs and take your child to your pediatrician or an eye doctor at the first sign of a vision issue. 

If routine vision tests indicate there could be a problem, you will likely be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist. 

Testing and Diagnosing Pediatric Vision Problems

Testing children’s vision uses a variety of techniques that vary depending on age and development. There are effective ways to test infants and preverbal children, as well as those that can read an eye chart. At The Eye Institute of West Florida, common techniques include light tests (responses to, ability to follow), matching games, letter recognition, and pictures. 

Each eye will be checked separately, which is important because a child can function normally even if one eye has decreased vision and the other eye sees well.

Other tests may also be performed on an as-needed basis. While testing can involve unfamiliar equipment, the tests generally are not painful or invasive.

Treatment for Childhood Vision Problems

Dr. Byrd will diagnose and discuss the right treatment for your child’s eye condition. Fortunately, most eye problems in kids can be corrected if detected early. Treatment for childhood vision problems may include:

  • Medication
  • Therapy
  • Corrective lenses (eyeglasses)
  • Surgery

Meet Our Pediatric Ophthalmologist

Julia M. Byrd, MD, is a fellowship trained pediatric ophthalmologist and surgeon specializing in amblyopia, strabismus (both pediatric and adult), lacrimal disorders, pediatric cataracts, retinopathy of prematurity, pediatric uveitis, pediatric ocular trauma, congenital eye disorders, and more.

Contact The Eye Institute of West Florida to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should My Child Have an Eye Exam?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology agree that children should have their eyes examined by a pediatrician at birth and at all regular check-ups before school. 

When children reach school age, routine eye exams help identify any vision problems or issues. If abnormalities are identified that an optometrist cannot adequately address, referral to a pediatric ophthalmologist is customary for specialized attention.

When Does My Child Need To See A Pediatric Ophthalmologist?

Most pediatric ophthalmology patients are referred by a pediatrician or an optometrist.

Until children are old enough to attend school, eye and vision care are most frequently handled by the pediatrician. Pediatricians typically assess vision at each milestone appointment. If the pediatrician notices any abnormalities, they generally refer to a pediatric ophthalmologist.

What Vision Symptoms Should I Watch Out for in Kids?

Have your child evaluated by a medical professional if they exhibit these vision symptoms.

  • Persistent watery eyes
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes when your child is not sleepy
  • Sensitivity to light
  • White or yellow material in the pupil
  • Redness that doesn’t go away
  • Pus or crust in the eyes
  • Crossed, wandering or misaligned eyes
  • Squinting
  • Frequent tilting or turning of the head
  • Drooping or bulging eyes or eyelids
  • One eye appearing larger than the other

Last modified on May 6th, 2024 at 4:07 pm

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