Elks Children's Eye Clinic

Dr. Karr examining a patient

Providing world-class vision care for your child.

The Elks Children’s Eye Clinic is the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus at OHSU Casey Eye Institute. We have helped protect, improve and restore the vision of tens of thousands of children and adults. Our doctors and staff are internationally known for their skills and expertise in providing eye care, providing the best treatments available using the most advanced technology. Above all, we are committed to compassionate care — putting children and families at ease from the moment they walk in our doors.

With the longtime, generous support of the Oregon State Elks Association, we offer:

  • Pediatric eye specialists with a broad range of expertise and special training who love working with children.
  • The most advanced technology available anywhere for diagnosing and treating eye disease.
  • Experts at diagnosing and treating common eye diseases as well as complicated eye conditions.  
  • A world-class facility for the treatment of eye diseases that makes kids feel at home.

Our expertise

Your child will receive eye care at the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic from respected leaders in the field who use the latest advances and treatment options to support your child’s eye health and treat adult strabismus. We offer:

  • A board-certified pediatric eye care team including fellowship-trained ophthalmologists and an optometrist with experience and skill in pediatric eye surgery, specialty contact lenses and general eye care.
  • Experience caring for kids and a compassionate team that recognizes their unique needs.
  • Doctors who are national leaders in providing pediatric eye care, teaching, lecturing and research.
  • A trained social worker helps families navigate the physical and emotional challenges surrounding children's eye care.
  • Two pediatric glaucoma specialists trained specifically in the diagnosis and management of childhood glaucoma.
  • The Gene Therapy Center, which is one of only a handful of programs in the country that has gene therapy treatment and clinical trials available for inherited retinal diseases.

Our doctors

Collaborative care

When needed, we work with other specialists at Casey and at OHSU to develop a comprehensive treatment plan and provide the very best eye care for your child.

  • Our team of ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists and other staff bring their expertise and experience together for each patient.
  • When your child's condition is complex, we can team up with other doctors right here at Casey, including oculofacial, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular genetics, cornea and retina specialists.
  • Your Casey team may work with doctors at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and throughout OHSU to ensure the best overall health for your child.
  • We coordinate care with outside providers, when needed, to make your child's care as convenient as possible.

What happens in your child's eye exam

A child plays with eye exam equipment.

Your child’s eyes should be checked once at six to 12 months of age, at least once between three and five years old before first grade, and then annually after that.

Your child will start with a series of exams to check their eye health. Your child’s exam will likely take a few hours. Usually two or three of our doctors perform the tests. In a first round of tests, we will find out:

  • How well your child sees near or far objects. If your child doesn't read yet, we can test his or her vision with screenings that might include pictures or shapes.
  • Your child's depth perception.
  • How well your child's eyes align with each other and how they move together to track objects (done by an orthoptist).
  • Your child's peripheral, or side, vision.

In the second part of the exam, we may:

  • Put eye drops in your child's eyes to cause the eyes' pupils to widen, or dilate.
  • After about 30 minutes, an ophthalmologist will use special equipment to look at the interior of the eyes through the widened pupils to see if there are any problems and to help confirm whether your child may need corrective lenses.
  • Look at your child's eyes with special lights and lenses to determine if your child needs glasses and rule out problems.

Common conditions

We provide full medical and surgical care for a wide variety of children's eye conditions. Some of the common conditions we treat include:

  • Routine eye care
  • Vision check
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Sports injuries
  • Pediatric glaucoma
  • Retinoblastoma (a type of eye cancer)
  • Strabismus in children and adults (eyes that are not straight)
  • Pediatric cataracts
  • Hereditary eye diseases
  • Referral consultation
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Eye trauma

Common procedures and treatments

Young boy playing with equipment before his eye exam.

Many childhood eye diseases can be treated by wearing glasses or by using eye drops. However, sometimes treatment may mean surgery. Some of the common treatments we do for kids include:

Non-surgical treatments:

  • Glasses for focusing or alignment issues.
  • Glasses, eye patching or eye drops, for lazy eye.
  • Glasses, eye exercises or a prism prescription for strabismus (improper eye alignment).
  • Topical eye drops or pills taken orally for pinkeye, ocular allergies, eyelid inflammation, eyelid cysts, tearing from blocked tear ducts and glaucoma.
  • Laser treatment for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Surgical treatments:

  • Strabismus surgery (eye muscle alignment surgery) for conditions not fully treated other ways such as with glasses.
  • Blocked tear duct surgery (nasolacrimal duct surgery).
  • Childhood cataract surgery.
  • Glaucoma surgery.

Replacing broken glasses

Research and innovation

Our doctors are national leaders in the research of eye conditions that affect children, exploring new ways to improve care. Some of the ways we participate in research include:

  • Being part of the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group, a clinical network of pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists across the nation who are funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct clinical research studies on pediatric eye conditions.
  • Leading a range of clinical trials. For example, we are leading a study analyzing the appropriate timing of surgery for infants with cataracts and the amount of patching therapy needed to treat children with amblyopia. Our leadership in clinical trials mean our patients can get access to potential breakthroughs in eye care.
  • Participating in research projects with scientists and doctors at Casey, OHSU, and at other institutions nation wide. 

Childhood Glaucoma Center

The Childhood Glaucoma Center, part of the Elks Children's Eye Clinic, works to prevent and treat childhood glaucoma, which can be present at birth or develop later in childhood. Children with glaucoma can lose their sight if the condition is left untreated, which is why the center is dedicated to early detection and treatment. Learn more about childhood glaucoma.

Elks Safety Poster Contest

The Oregon State Elks Association sponsors an annual poster contest, encouraging children to creatively illustrate the importance of eye health and safety. Learn more and see the winners.