Pediatric Program

Vision problems often occur in infants and children. Our pediatric optometric low vision program was established in 1988 and is recognized across the country as being one of the leaders in pediatric vision care. Our pediatric low vision doctors are trained to examine the eyes and visual system of children as young as 1 day old. During the examination, the doctors measure the child’s level of functional vision and prescribe specialized glasses and vision stimulation intervention to develop the child’s vision.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are your doctor’s optometrists or ophthalmologists?  All of our doctors are low vision optometrists

My child is currently being followed by an ophthalmologist, why do they need an exam at CPS as well?  Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the medical treatment of eye diseases.  They may prescribe medications, perform laser treatment, or eye surgery to manage your child’s eye disease.  Our low vision optometrists specialize in determining the extent of your child’s functional vision.  They prescribe glasses or other low vision devices like hand held or video magnifiers or telescopes to allow your child to use their vision to the greatest extent possible.  Our doctors also provide recommendations for how your child can best use their vision during every day activities at home or at school and how to strengthen the use of their vision in cases where vision can improve.  While it is important for your child to continue seeing their ophthalmologist, we feel that the majority of children with low vision will also benefit from a functional vision assessment at CPS.

What is the difference between a functional vision assessment and a regular eye exam? 

The main purpose of a regular eye examination is to determine a glasses prescription.  However, there are many other aspects of vision that may not be addressed during a regular eye examination.  A functional vision assessment is meant to determine the extent of your child’s vision and under what conditions does your child best use their vision.  A functional vision assessment may include testing for visual acuity, peripheral vision, contrast sensitivity, glare sensitivity, color vision, depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement skills.  We also assess for the need of optical or electronic low vision aids for use at home or school.

Can a child who is non-verbal or multiply disabled benefit from a functional vision assessment?

Yes. Many of the children that our doctors examine are not able to talk and have other disabilities.  Our doctors utilize a variety of tests that take into account the special accommodations necessary for an accurate assessment of a child with special needs.

What is a vision perception examination? 

Vision perception is the ability to interpret and process what we see.  A vision perception examination is often performed on children who have difficulties with learning, reading, or writing.  We may test certain aspects of vision such as visual memory, visual figure ground, visual sequential memory, and visual motor integration, among others.  A child must have a certain level of cognitive ability in order to be able to perform these tests.

What types of insurances do you accept? 

We accept straight Medi-cal as well as some Medi-cal HMOs.  Please call our office if you have any questions about eligibility.

Will the doctor provide a report of the examination? 

Yes, our doctors will provide a detailed report of your child’s examination and any recommendations for accommodations at home, school or in the community.  There is a $15 fee if you would like the doctor to write the report.

What types of visual interventions are available for children with vision loss? 

Every child experiences vision loss differently.  Our doctors and staff have specialized training so that individualized recommendations may be made for each child we examine based on the latest research and best practices.

For example, we know that vision is a learned skill that can be developed with stimulation. Our doctors and staff provide parents, family members, therapists, early intervention teachers, and classroom teachers with information on how to modify the environment of infants to develop their vision. We inform the family and team of professionals about the best lighting conditions for the child to play in, what distance and location to present toys and objects, what color patterns and toys are most stimulating, and we provide them with specific activities to stimulate the development of vision.

Recent studies have shown that a program of visual stimulation may help improve vision in children who have been diagnosed with cortical vision impairment, a neurological visual disorder.  Our doctors may prescribe various activities unique to the complexity of this diagnosis and the types of meaningful experiences shown to have the best results for improving visual interest.

What types of accommodations can your doctors recommend for my child at school? 

Depending on your child’s vision and diagnosis, the doctors may recommend accommodations such as being provided with large print or digital books and/or a slant board, having high contrast homework sheets, having extra time for tests, preferential seating in the classroom to maximize functional vision, awareness of glare and lighting as factors for optimal viewing or having an orientation and mobility consultation.

What types of services do you provide for family members?

Thanks to the generosity of private funders, the Center offers free support services to families through our Family Resource Project.   A Family Resource Specialist will meet with you at the exam and can provide follow up phone calls to help with resources and referrals, collaboration with professionals working with the child, visual intervention activities, parent education and support.

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