Children's Mercy’s team of pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists work together to provide the highest quality care for all types of vision and eye problems in children. As one of the largest pediatric ophthalmology practices in the country, we see children with common concerns such as failed vision screens, need for glasses, and blocked tear ducts, as well as complex problems such as strabismus (crossed eyes), cataracts, glaucoma, and ocular tumors.
We provide vision care services at four eye clinics with state-of-the-art equipment and an optical shop at each location. Eye surgeries are performed at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas.
Eye doctors who understand your unique needs
Vision problems in children require special treatment because the brain cells that control vision are not fully developed in children. Many pediatric vision problems occur when these cells are not responding normally. Our team provides specialized care to address these issues in a way that is comfortable and accessible for children and teens.
The eye clinic is one of the few places where Children’s Mercy doctors also treat certain adult patients—in this case, adults who have strabismus, or crossed eyes. Because problems with the eye muscles are generally more common in children, our pediatric specialists can use their expertise to help adults who have strabismus that was never treated or has recurred in their adult years.
What to expect at your appointment
A routine eye exam includes several steps. These may look different depending on the age of your child, but typically include:
Gathering a medical and eye history
Checking vision, eye alignment and binocular vision
Checking eye pressure
Dilation of the eyes with eye drops
Examination for glasses
Examining the front and back of the eye to ensure good health
Specialized testing (if needed)
Dilation of the eyes of a child takes at least 45 minutes. A full exam typically takes one and a half to two hours. Follow up visits typically last about one hour.
Please bring your child’s glasses, contact lenses and all eye medications to all clinic visits.
We work closely with the Division of Rheumatology to care for children with chronic Uveitis in our interdisciplinary Uveitis Clinic.
Ocular Genetics Clinic
This clinic combines the expertise of a genetics counselor with a specialized pediatric ophthalmologist to provide genetic testing for suspected genetic ocular diseases. This team can provide pre-testing counseling and follow-up support for genetic eye conditions.
Optical Shops with Pediatric Glasses Frames
Each of our four locations has an optical shop with a full-time optician to provide high-quality glasses in a variety of styles and frame sizes. Our optical shops contract with many local insurance plans. Our opticians specialize in fitting glasses for children and can suggest frames for infants to teenagers.
Adults with eye muscle problems may be surprised to find out that they need to see a pediatric ophthalmologist to treat their eye condition. Strabismus, or eye misalignment, is common in children and adults and in most cases, can be fixed with surgery. Our pediatric ophthalmologists have dedicated clinic time to care for adults with strabismus. Surgery is typically performed by Children's Mercy doctors at a local adult surgery center.
Scleral Contact Lens Fitting
Scleral lenses are specialized contact lenses that vault over the front surface of the eye. These lenses are necessary when a corneal disorder (corneal scar, keratoconus, trauma) causes the front surface of the eye to be uneven. Scleral lenses sit on the white part of the eye (the sclera) and can restore a smooth front surface. Only specially trained optometrists can fit scleral lenses, and it takes even more experience to fit them in children. The optometrists at Children's Mercy are experienced and skilled in fitting traditional contact lenses and scleral lenses.
Myopia Control Program
More than 50% of children across the world will become myopic (nearsighted) by adulthood. Adults with moderate to high levels of myopia have an increased risk of blindness from cataracts, retinal degeneration and glaucoma. With increasing rates of myopia, doctors are now looking at ways of preventing children from becoming myopic and developing a greater risk of blinding eye disease. Myopia control strategies, including eye drops, special contact lenses and glasses, have been shown to slow down or stop the progression of myopia in children. Optometrists at Children's Mercy are well educated in these strategies and offer a myopia control program to kids at risk.
Children’s Mercy participates and leads research efforts to pave the way to better care for all children. A few of our current research efforts include:
Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG) – This multicenter research group, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is search for answers to common questions in pediatric eye disease. Children’s Mercy is consistently a top enroller in PEDIG studies.
Uveitis studies – ADJUST and EYE-Q are multicenter studies looking to solve questions around the treatments and care for children with chronic uveitis. We are also involved with internal genetic studies in children with uveitis to determine genetic markers in correlation with disease severity.
Artisan Lens – We participate in this FDA study looking at the safety and efficacy of the Artisan iris claw lens for the treatment of aphakia.
Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis Screening – We are part of this study, which looks for a rare bile acid disorder in children with bilateral cataracts.