Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

See also: Eye Cancer and Retinoblastoma

Physicians

Amy K. Hutchinson, MD, director
Phoebe Lenhart, MD, specialist in cornea and cataracts
Sheryl Menacker, MD, specialist in disabilities and residency education
Natalie C. Weil, MD

Clinical Care

The Emory Eye Center's Pediatric Ophthalmology service provides comprehensive, compassionate care of children's vision, from birth-17 years of age, that range from general eye exams to treatment of the most complex childhood eye diseases and disorders.

Our pediatric ophthalmologists are uniquely situated for collaboration with other Eye Center specialists on the diagnosis and treatment of children's visual problems. 

For example, glaucoma specialist, Allen Beck, MD, sees pediatric glaucoma patients from birth-8; Jeremy Jones, MD, ages 8 and up.

Neuro-ophthalmology specialist, Jason H. Peragallo, MD, treats pediatric neuro-ophthalmology patients.

Oculoplastics specialists Adam de la Garza, MD, Hee Joon Kim, MD, and Ted Wojno, MD contribute expertise in pediatric orbital/eyelid issues.

G. Baker Hubbard, III, MD, sees pediatric patients for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and retinoblastoma (RB).

As part of Emory Healthcare, the Center's physicians can offer integrated treatment options for patients within the Winship Cancer Institute and Children’s Healthcare network.

Georgia Lions Children's Eye Care Center

Because good vision in childhood is essential to the proper development of vision into adulthood, we created a dedicated center for pediatric patients, the Georgia Lions Children's Eye Care Center. The center cares for children through all phases of diagnosis and treatment. The goal of the physicians is to diagnose and treat childhood eye diseases early, before the affected individuals lose vision. Contributions from the Georgia Lions helped fund important aspects of care, including the following initiatives:

1. Genetic Research

The center provides genetic evaluation, counseling, and genetic research for families with inherited eye diseases such as congenital glaucoma, cataracts, and retinoblastoma.

2. Program to follow-up care

Emory helps arrange care for children with blinding eye diseases who have family and financial issues that prevent them from receiving adequate care. For example, children with retinopathy of prematurity, the most common blinding disease in premature infants, often need regular treatments by an ophthalmologist to protect their vision.

Issues such as poverty, inadequate insurance, or lack of transportation, some of the same issues that contribute to prematurity, make it difficult for these children to receive adequate eye care. Since there is a small window of time during which these children can be treated successfully to prevent blindness, a coordinator at Emory monitors and assists their parents with transportation and other matters to get them to their follow-up appointments.

3. Specialized treatment for pediatric glaucoma patients

Since it can be challenging for children to sit still, especially during sensitive medical procedures, specialists at Emory have developed a better way to treat pediatric glaucoma.

Glaucoma causes the eye to build up fluid and pressure that can destroy the optic nerve—and vision. With adults, surgeons can open a drainage hole in the wall of the eye and control rapid draining by cutting the sutures one at a time over a period of several weeks with an in-office laser.

Because children can't remain motionless during the removal procedures, our glaucoma specialists have developed better tools and modified the standard techniques to treat glaucoma.

The advantages of their procedure over conventional methods are that it requires only one surgery instead of three and significantly reduces the likelihood of later development of scar tissue and nearsightedness.

4. Technology on the cutting edge

Emory's pediatric ophthalmologists and other specialists utilize advanced treatments for disorders that affect primarily infants and young children.

The accomplishments of these experts range from developing new and highly successful surgical treatments for pediatric glaucoma to performing laser treatments for retinopathy of prematurity, a blinding disease of the retina that affects premature babies.

Pioneering laboratory research has resulted in the discovery of a gene defect that causes a certain kind of childhood blindness. A new camera at Emory has helped retina specialists better diagnose and treat retinoblastoma, a vision-threatening, life-threatening cancer that strikes infants and young children.

Research

Emory Eye Center physicians are involved in ongoing clinical trials and studies for the treatment of eye disorders and diseases. Being part of a major medical center allows access to collaborative studies not otherwise possible.

Current Clinical Trials

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