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Pediatric Ophthalmology

Children are a high priority at Excel Eye Center, and our offices and staff are all child-friendly. Scott W. Yeates, M.D. and Brad Henriksen, M.D., are the only fellowship-trained children’s eye doctor and ophthalmologists in Utah County. Their cheerful personalities help children remain comfortable and relaxed throughout kids eye exams and surgical procedures.

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Pediatric Eye Care

Eye problems can develop at an early age. Scheduling routine eye examinations give children their best chances at optimal eye health throughout their lives. Excel Eye Center provides top-rated children’s ophthalmology services for kids throughout Utah County.

As the only fellowship-trained kids eye doctors nearby, you can trust Scott W. Yeates, M.D., and Brad Henriksen, M.D., with all your pediatric ophthalmology needs. Our specialists and trained staff have extensive experience treating children, enabling them to quickly and accurately diagnose vision impairments in young children.

Children's Ophthalmology Specialties

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Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia is decreased vision in one or both eyes, that otherwise have normal structures. Without the right nerve stimulation, the brain will favor the better-seeing eye, creating a “lazy eye.”  The most common causes for amblyopia are eye misalignment (strabismus) and a difference in glasses prescription between the eyes. Our kids eye doctors will prescribe the best treatment for your child, which may include glasses, patching, or eye drops.

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Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction (Clogged Tear Duct)

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction, or clogged tear ducts, are common in infants and young children and most often cause tearing and mucus discharge from one or both eyes. The most common cause for the blockage is a membrane over the duct opening in the nose. If tearing does not improve over several months, or causes infections or skin irritation, then a probing procedure, with or without placement of a silicone stent may be necessary. Our children’s eye doctors can help evaluate and provide treatment for clogged tear ducts as necessary.

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Pediatric Cataract

A cataract is any clouding of the natural lens of the eye. There are many causes of cataracts including developmental abnormalities, infections, inherited conditions, trauma, inflammation, or other spontaneous causes. While not all cataracts cause vision loss, when clouding of the lens is significant and blocks light from reaching the back of the eye, they must be treated promptly to prevent long-term vision loss. Treatments include small incision cataract surgery, and placement of intraocular lenses depending on the age of the child. Additional treatments including glasses, contact lenses, and patching are also important for visual recovery. Dr. Henriksen specializes in pediatric cataract surgery and will provide the best treatment for your child.

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Strabismus (Eye Misalignment)

Strabismus is the term for eye misalignment, when one eye may turn inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward, or downward (hypertropia). Strabismus is a common condition in children, but can also occur later in life. Every child with eye misalignment needs a complete eye exam with a children’s ophthalmologist. Treatments for strabismus include glasses, patching, prisms, and in some cases eye muscle surgery. As pediatric ophthalmologists, Dr. Yeates and Dr. Henriksen will provide the best treatment options available for improving eye alignment.

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Eye Doctors Your Family Can Trust!

Dr. Yeates and Dr. Henriksen are here to help keep your kids’ eye healthy and clear.

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Pediatric Ophthalmology FAQ

Why do kids need a dilated eye exam?

There are two main reasons dilated eye exams are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology: first, to evaluate the overall health of the eye; and second, to obtain an accurate glasses prescription. A dilated exam is the best way for our doctors to look at the health of the eye including the optic nerve and retina, as well as screen for abnormalities or growths. Checking for a glasses prescription in kids requires relaxing the focusing muscles in the eye. This is accomplished by dilating the pupil and helps us get the most accurate glasses prescription for each child.

What should I expect for my child's eye exam?

A new patient eye exam usually consists of an initial history and exam, dilation, and final examination with an eye-glasses check.

After arriving and checking in at the front desk, you will be called to one of our exam rooms by a technician. The technician will obtain a brief history and complete vision and preliminary testing. Then the doctor will do a quick vision and eye alignment check prior to dilation.

Dilation drops will be placed in the child’s eyes and the patient and family will return to the waiting area (with the movie and toys) until the eyes are fully dilated.

After dilation is complete (usually 30 minutes) the patient will be taken to the exam rooms where the doctor will complete a dilated eye exam, check for any eyeglass prescription, and provide treatment recommendations. Overall, the appointment usually lasts approximately 60-90 minutes.

How does the doctor check for a glasses prescription in a small child?

Checking for glasses in children requires the use a specific technique called retinoscopy to determine the correct prescription without significant patient cooperation. This technique requires that the child has dilated pupils. The doctor then uses a small light and different combinations of lenses to determine which lenses will help focus the light entering the eye. As the only fellowship-trained pediatric ophthalmologists in Utah County, our doctors are uniquely trained to obtain the most accurate and reliable pediatric glasses and contact lens prescriptions for each child.

Can I see a pediatric ophthalmologist if I don't have vision insurance?

Yes. Our doctors are pediatric ophthalmologists and medical doctors (MDs), and as such each visit is considered a medical visit. This is similar to seeing any other type of medical specialist. Many medical plans cover one preventative ophthalmology visit every year at no cost, while others will cover the visit in a similar way to a medical office visit.  If you have any questions about coverage, please feel free to reach out to our office directly.

My child has strabismus (eye wandering or crossing), are there non-surgical options?

Yes! Our physicians always do a complete evaluation and provide non-surgical options if possible. There are some forms of eye misalignment that respond better to conservative therapies (sometimes referred to as vision therapy) such as patching, glasses, or eye exercises.) We always emphasize the use of these non-invasive treatments when possible. If surgery is needed, our doctors are the only board-certified pediatric ophthalmologists in Utah County, and can help your child have the best experience possible.

My child has dyslexia, should they have an eye exam?

All children with suspected or confirmed learning differences (including dyslexia) should have a complete eye exam.  Studies have shown that the majority of patients with dyslexia do not have significant problems with vision. However, each child should be evaluated for the need of glasses, eye movement issues, and eye alignment. Any of these issues should be corrected to help aid with the learning process. If the eye exam is normal, then obtaining the best educational support (often with individual education plans (IEP) and tutoring) has been shown to be the most successful approach for children with dyslexia.

When should my child have their first eye exam?

Eye screenings should be completed by a pediatrician, family medicine doctor, or other primary care provider at birth and at least annually throughout childhood. Many primary care offices are now using photoscreening devices that can detect children that may need glasses, have eye misalignment or other conditions. For most children, these screenings are sufficient. However, if there is family history of pediatric eye disease (including family members needing glasses from a young age), or if your child shows any signs of having vision problems (blurred vision, holding objects very close to their face, or crossing or wandering eyes) then a full exam is recommended. Many schools will also require an eye exam prior to the start of the school year.

Do the pediatric doctors see patients with developmental delay?

Our doctors are specially trained to examine and care for children with developmental delay. As pediatric specialists, our doctors are adept at obtaining information about vision, glasses prescriptions, and the overall health of the eye in patients with developmental delays. Our doctors are kind, patient, and caring for all of their patients, especially those with delays.

Where do your doctors perform surgery (if needed)?

Our doctors are credentialed with all major hospital systems in the area including intermountain Health Care (IHC) and Mountain Star networks.  Our surgeons only operate where the best pediatric sedation services are offered including IHC hospitals (Utah Valley Hospital and Riverton Hospital–part of the Primary Children’s Network), and outpatient surgical centers (Central Utah and Riverwoods Surgical Centers).

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