If you have an eye issue or medical concern that needs immediate attention, please call any of our offices during office hours or go directly to an emergency room. Our after-hours number is (563) 328-5103.
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The most commonly treated conditions include crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia), glaucoma, and inherited eye disease. We also treat problems that result from injury to the eye and eye conditions that may occur as a result of medical problems. Routine eye care for children is also available.
Babies are able to see as soon as they are born. For the visual system to continue to develop properly, children need clear input from both eyes to the brain. If there is some problem which interferes with vision in either eye or both, the connections from the eye to the brain can become weak or not develop properly. Crossed or turned eyes or imbalance in the way each eye focuses can interfere with this normal development of the visual system.
A child's eye examination begins by discussing any problems the parent recognize. It is important to find out if there were problems with the pregnancy or with the child's birth, and if the child's growth and development are proceeding normally. A history of eye problems in the family is important. The ophthalmologist needs to know about the child's health in general. Are there other medical problems? Has the child had any treatment with medications or surgical procedures?
If your child has been treated with medications, glasses or contact lenses, these should be brought to the eye examination. The names and addresses of other physicians who may be treating the child should be supplied so that they may be informed of the findings.
One of the less enjoyable but most essential portions of an eye exam is the dilation of the pupil. This not only allows the ophthalmologist to view the inside of the eye, but the dilating drops temporarily relax the child's focusing power so that nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism (refractive errors) can be accurately measured. Most doctors have preferences for which dilating drops they use. Some drops are given once, some are given more than once, and all take about 30 to 60 minutes to be fully effective. It may be necessary to have special drops or ointment put in at home and to return to complete the examination at a later date.
Whether your child is attentive or not at this point, or even if he or she is asleep, it can be determined if your child's vision is not in focus by using small lenses and a special flashlight (called a retinoscope). The ophthalmologist can shine a beam of light into the eye and, by holding lenses in the path of this reflection, detect nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. It is a somewhat different technique from the one used to fit glasses for adults, but it is, nonetheless, very accurate. From this part of the examination, it can be determined whether your child needs glasses.
Once your child's pupils are dilated, your ophthalmologist can get a very good look at the structures inside the eye to make sure it is healthy. The inside of the eye is where the retina is located, which is like film in a camera, processing the visual information into signals, which are sent down the optic nerve to the brain. The optic nerve itself, as well as the blood vessels which supply the retina, can be seen in the back of the eye. Special instruments allow the ophthalmologist to see inside the eye in great detail.