Neurological complications in growing children can affect both sight and eye function. As your child’s eyes and vision develop, diagnosing related problems calls for special expertise. Neuro-ophthalmologists are medical doctors with advanced education and experience in evaluating and treating disorders of the eye and brain. They understand how complex nervous system conditions can contribute to vision problems.
The Neuro-ophthalmology team at Children’s National Hospital is a subspecialty program of Neurology (brain and nervous system), which works closely with the Division of Ophthalmology. It requires high-level skills in both medical specialties. Neuro-ophthalmologists understand how a child’s eyes function, including the muscles and nerves that control the eye.
Related Care Programs
Choosing the Neuro-Ophthalmology Program at Children’s National
The Neuro-ophthalmology team at Children's National includes experts who treat conditions such as unexplained vision loss, brain tumors or stroke that affect vision, as well as eye disorders and diseases. We are the only dedicated pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist team in the Washington, D.C., area.
Features of the Neuro-ophthalmology Program at Children’s National include:
- Care from experts in different fields. From expert diagnosis to advanced treatments, we provide multidisciplinary care that enlists the skills of experts in many areas of medicine. Our neuro-ophthalmologists work closely with Children's National specialists from Epilepsy, the Mitochondrial Disease Institute, Vestibular and Hearing Program of Otolaryngology (ENT), Ophthalmology, Neurology, Neuropsychology, Neuro-Oncology, Neurosurgery, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, the White Matter Disease Clinic, the Rare Disease Institute (Genetics and Metabolism) and Radiology. They also work with PSV Neurology and area community pediatric ophthalmologists. Their collaborative expertise provides comprehensive care to children whose vision and eyes are affected by other conditions.
- Help for high-risk children. Our team screens children at risk for vision complications from a disease or disorder. Children with neurofibromatosis, a genetic nervous system condition, have a high risk for optic nerve and visual pathway disorders, including tumors. Our neuro-ophthalmologists serve on an interdisciplinary team in our Neurofibromatosis Institute – one of the nation’s leading centers for neurofibromatosis care.
- Family-centered support. Eye and vision disorders can be scary for families, too. We provide guidance, education and a shoulder to lean on for parents and families. Our family services team includes social workers, child life specialists and chaplaincy services staff during clinic appointments or hospital stays.
- Treatment-advancing research. We conduct multidisciplinary clinical research to improve the understanding of and care for eye and vision disorders associated with or caused by neurologic conditions.
We offer a full range of therapies including:
- Diagnostic testing
- Outpatient care
- Inpatient medical care
Conditions We Treat
Our team treats children with a wide range of common and complex conditions, including:
- Brain tumor-related vision loss
- Central visual impairment
- Cranial nerve abnormalities
- Delayed visual maturation
- Double vision
- Eye movement disorders
- Increased intracranial pressure
- Migraine-associated visual changes
- Mitochondrial-related eye disorders
- Nystagmus (shaking eyes)
- Ocular myasthenia gravis
- Optic nerve abnormalities (e.g., atrophy, drusen, hypoplasia, septo-optic dysplasia)
- Optic neuritis
- Papilledema (optic disc swelling)/pseudotumor cerebri (increased intracranial pressure)
- Ptosis (drooping eyelids)
- Pupil abnormalities (Horner’s syndrome, anisocoria, Adie’s pupil)
- Septo-optic dysplasia (early brain development disorder)
- Unexplained vision loss
- Vision assessments for children with seizures/epilepsy
- Visual field abnormalities