The Department of Ophthalmology at Boston Children's Hospital offers the latest and best in diagnostics and care for children with vision problems, no matter how simple or complex. We specialize in treating cataracts in babies and children, traumatic eye injuries, juvenile glaucoma and a variety of other conditions.
Children and families come from around the world to our Eye Center for the most advanced vision testing, diagnostics and treatment available for of all types of visual impairments.
Why choose us
For the more than forty years, the medical staff at Boston Children's Hospital's Department of Ophthalmology have examined more than a quarter of a million children with eye problems, more than 19,000 visits each year. Boston Children's physicians see patients at our locations in Peabody, Lexington and Waltham. We also see patients at our Physician Locations in Sandwich, The Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and Physicians South in Weymouth.
The sheer volume of complex and unusual cases combined with more routine conditions has built the department's special expertise. As a result, the department has become the referral center for children with difficult eye problems, including rare pediatric eye conditions that are seen here in large volume, as well as adults with strabismus .
- The Department of Ophthalmology at Boston Children’s is the largest group of full-time practicing pediatric ophthalmologists in the United States with 16 ophthalmologists and 5 optometrists on staff.
- Boston Children’s pediatric ophthalmologists lead their peers in research that’s advancing the way eye conditions are diagnosed and treated.
- Our experts have pioneered specialized diagnostic and surgical techniques for babies and children.
- We see more than 30,000 outpatient visits each year, and more than 1,200 surgical procedures are performed annually in our 11 specialty clinics.
Download a copy of the Ophthalmology fact sheet, with key information and highlights.
Notable features of the Department of Ophthalmology include:
- A specialized Pediatric and Adult Strabismus Service for comprehensive evaluation and treatment of misaligned eyes (strabismus).
A Pediatric Cataract Service that is a national leader in surgery with nearly 50 operations each year on babies and children with cataracts.
A Retina Service that is known worldwide for its expertise in evaluating common and rare retinal degenerative conditions using state of the art diagnostic procedures, including electroretinogram (ERG) and visual evoked potential (VEP) testing.
An Orthoptic Service staffed by internationally-trained orthoptists, who specialize in evaluation and treatment of eye muscle problems. Our orthoptists work under the supervision of our pediatric ophthalmologists to recommend eye exercises when indicated and to perform measurements of strabismus and visual acuity in children of all ages.
A Pediatric Optometry Service to provide vision care specifically for patients with refractive concerns. Our fellowship-trained pediatric optometrists staff our Low Vision Service and the Contact Lens Service.
A Low Vision Service that provides visual aids, including magnifiers, telescopes, and closed circuit television for children with reduced vision.
A comprehensive Contact Lens Service that provides lenses for babies who have undergone cataract surgery and other specialty fits for babies and children of all ages.
- Specialized ophthalmic equipment designed for children, including:
Child-friendly visual acuity testing computers that switch from pictures to letters and even to cartoons to adjust to the abilities and needs of each individual patient.
A supine YAG laser, which makes it possible for babies and children to undergo state-of-the-art laser surgery while under anesthesia to treat "after-cataract" with laser instead of incisional surgery.
A 23 and 25 gauge vitrectomy system to allow small-incision surgery to correct "after-cataract" when laser is not possible.
A RetCam, a child-friendly non-mydriatic digital fundus camera, and other digital imaging systems to help document and diagnose retinopathy of prematurity and other eye conditions as well as selected eye surgery cases.
A research eye scanner, developed here at Boston Children's Hospital, that detects even mild cases of strabismus that are easily missed during visits to the pediatrician. If left untreated, these mild cases can result in decreased vision over time.
An IOL Master for determining Intraocular lens power in children with cataracts.
Names and Faces
The Department of Ophthalmology at Boston Children's is excited to welcome two new specialists to the team:
For areas of specialty and locations, visit their profiles under Find a Doctor
Eye Movement Disorder Caused by Improper Development of Motor Neurons
A study of a disorder that limits eye movement demonstrates, for the first time, that a human disorder can result from errors in axon guidance—or the ability of growing nerve fibers to navigate to the right location. This has been a popular hypothesis in neuroscience, but had never actually been shown.
Restoring Brennan's Vision
Diagnosed with a cataract at 12 months, Brennan Hughes-Shiverick needed surgery to extract the clouded lens in his left eye. Cataract surgery on babies is extremely difficult, but untreated cataracts prevent the developing brain from learning to see. Standard treatment for adult cataracts, a lens implant, is avoided in such young children because inflammation and implant rejection are common.
Boston Children’s ophthalmologist Kathryn Colby, MD, PhD, saved a baby from partial blindness by removing a rare, non-cancerous tumor and surgically inserting an artificial cornea—along with a permanent plastic contact lens.
Ophthalmologists at Children’s developed the Pediatric Vision Scanner (PVS), a device that in a quick 2.5 second scan of the eyes can detect strabismus, amblyopia and other serious eye conditions in children as young as 2. The device looks like a hand-held camera and scans the eyes' retinas with a low-power laser to take a series of important readings. [read more]