1. What is a pediatric ophthalmologist?

Titles in eye care can be confusing:

An optician is a state licensed technician who fits glasses.

An optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry, an O.D. (not to be confused with a Doctor of Medicine, an M.D.). Optometrists attend four years of optometry school after undergraduate college. They may take additional training in various fields of eye care. Optometrists are licensed by the state to examine and treat various eye conditions.

An ophthalmologist continues their education after college by attending four years in medical school and graduates with an M.D. degree. After one year of hospital internship, the M.D. (physician) must pass state board exams to practice general medicine before ophthalmology training. After three years of ophthalmology residency including medical and surgical management of various eye disorders and diseases, physicians are eligible to become board certified after completing examinations administered by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Many ophthalmologists go on to fellowship training to specialize in specific areas such as retina, cornea, or pediatric ophthalmology. Continuing medical education is required to maintain a state license to practice medicine.

2. What about eye drops?

Since we receive so many questions about eye drops, we have set up a separate section on eye drops under the heading above:“Care Provided” .

3. At what age should children have their first complete eye exam?

No child is too young for a complete eye exam. If there is no family history of childhood eye problems, we recommend a routine preschool evaluation at age 3 ½ to 4 years. If there are siblings or parents with strabismus, amblyopia or other early childhood eye disorders, an exam should be done at age six to twelve months. Some eye problems are obvious such as an extremely crossed eye, light sensitivity, tearing, or physical aberration. However, significant eye disorders may be subtle and early diagnosis is essential for the best prognosis. Delayed diagnosis may limit the potential for successful treatment. Therefore an exam should be performed at any time there are concerns expressed by family, friends, teachers, or primary care doctors. If in doubt, please call.  

4. What is an appropriate age for contact lenses?

There is no automatic age for this answer. Each child is treated as an individual and the decision should be based on the parents’ assessment of the child’s level of maturity, sense of responsibility, and personal hygiene. See more on contact lenses under the heading above: “Care Provided”. 

5. How long will a complete eye exam take?

Depending on complexity of the problem and response time to dilating drops, exam times may vary. We estimate about 1 to 1½ hours for most children.

6. Does Dr. Keys see adult patients?

Yes, at times you will see some adult patients in our office.
Since pediatric ophthalmologists are specifically trained to manage a wide range of ocular movement disorders, they are the physicians that are usually called to assist with adult eye muscle problems. Although most eye muscle problems occur in childhood, adults can develop similar problems from trauma, stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases, etc. We have seen patients with eye muscle problems at ages ranging from one day to ninety-two years.
Also, some of our long-term patients have become adults and prefer to stay with us. We have enjoyed special relationships with them.