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My youngest (14 months) has started showing signs of either strabismus or ambylopia (both commonly referred to as "lazy eye", where one eye seems to track differently than the other when the child is tired or isn't focusing). We're going to see an ophthalmologist once the pediatrician weighs in and recommends one, and I'm interested in suggestions for what I should look for in an ophthalmologist, and in what we should do to prepare for the visit.

Particularly, how important is it that we find one that specifically mentions these conditions as things they specialize in? They're fairly common conditions (affecting over 4% of children), so I would expect most pediatric ophthalmologists to have as one of their main purposes helping to diagnose and treat lazy eyes; but many do not mention them in their list of specializations.

And, in terms of preparation, do we need to keep track of time or length of lazy eye bouts? Should we take any videos? Our pediatrician hasn't noticed this in her periodic checks, but I suspect that he's more focused during these visits (a person he's not that used to, who is talking a lot to him). I worry the ophthalmologist will have the same problem - not be able to diagnose because of lack of presentation during the visit.

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As a programmer, I tell people to give me every last bit of information they can think of to help me solve their problem... I can quickly filter out the irrelevant stuff. I imagine skilled doctors can, too. But, miss one thing useful and helping is harder. A specialist is always more skilled than a generalist and if it's a true medical condition (instead of, per se, a skill), they will find it. – Jeremy Miller May 19 '14 at 6:37
Oh, I say "a skill" b/c some people can just do funky things with their body. I can dilate my eyes at will and torque my fingers in some quite interesting ways, lol. – Jeremy Miller May 19 '14 at 6:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

We set up an appointment with a specialist a few days ago, and they agreed that getting pictures/videos would be helpful (that's really hard, by the way, as whenever we notice it he inevitably sees us and the eye re-focuses!). They also asked us what direction the eye tends to go - apparently 'inside' is more common, although in our case 'outside' is - and whether the eye promptly re-focuses properly, or if it is crossed or out of focus for longer periods of time.

The pediatrician did recommend we see one of a few specialists who specialize in this specific condition, as she felt it was important to do so particularly given the age of the child.

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