Ophthalmology and Optometry
Ophthalmology and Optometry
Children's Mercy’s team of pediatric ophthalmologists, optometrists, and orthoptists work together to provide the highest quality, specialty eye care in children. At this time, the ophthalmology clinic is focusing on care for patients with medical eye conditions in children of all ages. The team also provides routine eye care including glasses and contact lenses for children with other medical conditions and children 9 years of age and younger. If your child’s primary care doctor or another provider suspects an eye concern, they will send a referral for you to see a Children’s Mercy eye specialist.
We provide vision care services at three 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.
Why would my child need a pediatric eye care provider?
Vision problems in children require special treatment because the brain cells that control vision are not fully developed in children until the age of 10. 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.
What type of eye specialist will I see?
The eye care team at Children’s Mercy includes three types of providers:
- Pediatric ophthalmologists
- Pediatric optometrists
It is important that your child sees the best provider for their individual needs. The specific condition and why you are visiting the eye care clinic for each appointment will dictate which members of the care team you see.
What is the difference between the types of providers?
- Pediatric ophthalmologists (MDs) provide complex medical and surgical care to children with congenital and acquired eye problems such as eye muscle misalignment, cataract, glaucoma, and tear duct obstruction. They have attended medical school and completed additional training to specialize in taking care of kid’s eyes. Typically, you will see an ophthalmologist if surgical intervention is needed.
- Pediatric optometrists (ODs) attend optometry school after college where they complete additional training in screening for, diagnosing, and treating a wide range of eye issues in children. Most patients will see one of our optometrists during their eye care journey.
- Orthoptists (COs) undergo specialized training to measure vision and eye alignment as well as treat poor vision with patching therapy.
These three groups work closely together to provide comprehensive pediatric eye care for your child. The clinic staff and doctors will determine the appropriate provider to manage your child’s unique needs and it is likely that you will see more than one provider during a course of treatment.
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 without dilation typically last about one hour.
Please bring your child’s glasses, contact lenses and all eye medications to all clinic visits.
See a visual guide about what to expect at your visit.
Learn more about your appointment!
If your child would like to learn more about who they may see during their eye exam and what tools may be used, visit the links below.View team members and roles View exam room tools
Children's Mercy uses the latest myopia control strategies, including eye drops, special contact lenses, and glasses, to help prevent children from becoming myopic (nearsighted). This can help protect them from more serious eye conditions, such as cataracts, retinal degeneration, and glaucoma, as adults. Optometrists at Children's Mercy are well educated in myopia control strategies and offer a specialized myopia program to kids at risk.
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.
Each of our three locations has an optical shop with a full-time optician to provide high-quality glasses in a variety of styles and frame sizes. Each optician specializes in fitting glasses for children and can suggest frames for infants to teenagers. Our optical shops contract with many local insurance plans.
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.
We work closely with the Division of Rheumatology to care for children with chronic Uveitis in our interdisciplinary Uveitis Clinic.
- Axial length measurements
- Corneal topography
- Electroretinogram (ERG)
- Fluorescein angiogram (Oral)
- Fundus photos – wide field
- Genetic testing
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
- Slit lamp photos
- Visual field testing
- Cataract surgery
- Corneal cross linking (FDA approved)
- Corneal transplant
- Eye exams under sedation
- Eyelid repair
- Eye trauma
- Glaucoma surgery
- Laser retinal surgery
- Muscle surgery
- Nasolacrimal duct probing
- Orbital surgery
- Retinal detachment repair
- Congenital eye disorders
- Corneal opacities
- Eyelid problems
- Eye trauma
- Failed vision screening for children 9 years of age and younger
- Genetic eye conditions
- Nasolacrimal duct obstruction
- Need for glasses or contact lenses
- Optic nerve problems
- Pediatric strabismus
- Retinal disorders
- Retinopathy of prematurity
- Routine eye care for all children with medical complexities
- Routine eye exams for children 9 years of age and younger
Highest level of surgical care
Children’s Mercy is one of only 30 locations in the nation to be verified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center.
Planning for surgery
From free valet parking at the front door to personalized follow-up care during your child’s recovery, we want every aspect of your experience at Children’s Mercy to be beyond your expectations.
Read about how to prepare your child for scheduled surgery, what to expect when you arrive, and resources available while you’re here.
Pediatric anesthesia at Children's Mercy
At Children’s Mercy, a pediatric anesthesiologist is an active member of your child’s care team before, during and after their surgery or procedure.
We administer anesthesia for more than 27,000 kids per year—that’s 74 per day—so our team is experienced at finding just-right doses of medication for kids of all sizes.
Improving care through research in ophthalmology
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.
Contact the Ophthalmology team
Children's Mercy Broadway
Children's Mercy Kansas
Children's Mercy Northland
Optical shops for kids
Children's Mercy Broadway Optical
Children's Mercy Kansas Optical
Children's Mercy Northland Optical