Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

At Glacier Eye Clinic, we understand the privilege and importance of taking care of the visual needs of children. We truly enjoy our pediatric clinic days, and while things are admittedly a little louder in the waiting rooms, the days are filled with charm and that special wisdom only children can bring.

Our team is led by Dr. Gus Stein, one of only four fellowship-trained pediatric ophthalmologists in the state of Montana. We cover a full spectrum of pediatric eye care, including:

Pediatric eye care differs in many ways from adults, most importantly in that the connections between a child’s eyes and brain are still developing. While this gives us a unique opportunity to treat problems early, it also means a child’s vision can be suppressed, a problem called amblyopia. We take pride in helping prevent and treat potentially permanent vision loss during this critical period of development.

Strabismus Overview

Amblyopia Overview

When Does My Child Need An Exam?

The American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus recommends that all children undergo vision screening routinely with their pediatrician or through school-based screening programs such as that offered by Kalispell Lion’s Club. Kids with abnormal screening results are then referred to a pediatric eye specialist. Glacier Eye Clinic is proud of our relationship with Northwest Montana’s excellent pediatricians, family doctors, and community partners. However, if you are concerned about your child’s eye alignment, vision, visual behavior, or have a strong family history of eye disease, you are welcome to contact us directly.

Retinopathy Of Prematurity

Infants that are born prematurely can develop an eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity, also known as ROP. This is a condition in which the blood vessels in the back of the eye are poorly developed and the retina does not receive adequate blood flow. This can lead to a number of long term visual complications and needs close follow-up with a specialist. We work with local hospitals to both screen and treat ROP in premature infants. Additional information and a helpful video can be found here. You can find more details on specific pediatric eye problems at the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus website.

Double Vision And Adult Strabismus (Eye Misalignment)

Adults can have double vision for many different reasons, ranging from benign ocular surface issues (such as dry eye or astigmatism) to more serious neurologic or muscular issues causing the eyes to become misaligned (strabismus). An important first question is whether the double vision is still present with either eye closed. If so, this is called monocular double vision (or diplopia), and can be managed by the entirety of our eye care team. If closing either eye removes the double vision, it is termed binocular diplopia, and a more specialized professional is better suited to help. Sometimes binocular diplopia is caused by a breakdown of pre-existing misalignment that a person was able to self-correct for many years, while other times it is a new cause requiring further testing and consultation. Due to a significant overlap with pediatric eye issues, pediatric ophthalmologists are dually trained in diagnosing and managing adult strabismus, as well. These tend to be longer appointments, as Dr. Stein and our team take the time to listen carefully, perform appropriate measurements, and develop a plan to determine the cause of double vision and offer both medical and, if appropriate, surgical treatment.

Additionally, the eyes can be misaligned without causing double vision. In these cases, there may still be options for surgical realignment and we are happy to see you and discuss them.

You can find more details on specific causes of adult strabismus at the AAPOS website.