At What Age Should My Child See An Eye Doctor?

first eye examA common question that parents ask is: What age should my child first see an eye doctor?

Hampton Roads Eye Associates has an answer that is fairly straightforward.

Initial Exam:

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that a child have a  first comprehensive eye exam at their 6 month checkup. This exam will generally be performed by the pediatrician at their checkup. The main objective will be to see if the child is following objects and observing the environment in a normal manner for their age and development.

Next Exams:

Additional eye exams are recommended at age 3 and then again before entering Kindergarten or 1st grade, which is generally between ages 5 and 6.

This is because eyesight is essential for students to be able to learn appropriately as they enter their primary school years.

There are a variety of conditions that could keep children from learning properly during their years in primary school, including:

  • near vision problems
  • distance vision problems
  • a lack of binocular (two eye) coordination
  • a lack of eye movement and following skills
  • a lack of eye focusing skills
  • a lack of peripheral awareness
  • a lack of hand-eye coordination

Schools have required an eye exam for all students entering school for the first time to screen out any vision problems that may exist and inhibit their learning.

What Are the Findings of These Initial Exams?

These eye exams at ages 3 and then again at 5-6 are finding that about 10-15% of school-aged children have some sort of vision issue.

Most of these issues are easily fixed by prescribing corrective eyewear that is determined by your child’s individual needs.  Rarely, a child needs corrective surgery for a vision issue, which would be performed after diagnosis and other, less invasive treatment is attempted.

Tell Your Eye Doctor the Following:

While most eye exams are pretty self-explanatory, be sure to tell your doctor about anything specific that may affect your child’s vision exam.

The following are some key factors your eye doctor may need to know to help provide your child with the best quality eye exam possible:

  • a history of a premature birth
  • any sort of delayed motor development
  • frequent eye rubbing
  • excessive blinking
  • failure to maintain appropriate eye contact
  • inability to maintain a gaze (fixation) while studying or looking at a specific object
  • any poor eye tracking skills you observed

These can all be signs of other problems that your child may be developing with their vision. Our doctors use this information along with the results of their eye exams to determine if issues exist with your child’s vision.

Also, Remember:

Regular eye exams ensure that any issues your child is having with their vision are corrected immediately before these issues impact their ability to function and learn appropriately. Routine eye exams are meant to detect problems and treat them so your child has the best chance to excel in the future.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child, contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point at  (757) 643-8800.  Our pediatric specialists are specially trained to detect and treat vision issues in children.


When Do I Need To Get Glasses?

glassesIf you’re finding it hard to see clearly, it may be time for a pair of eyeglasses. We use our eyes all the time, from the time we wake up until we go to sleep at night, we watch, read and perceive objects. This is why it is essential to choose the perfect pair of glasses for yourself, as whatever you do, they will be helping you see.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates recommends that as soon as you notice blurred or distorted vision, make an appointment for an exam.  Eyeglasses can help you avoid eyestrain and headaches and can help you improve your performance at work or school.


  • Myopia (nearsightedness) is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.
  • Astigmatism (uneven focusing of light) a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness) is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.


Poor vision can have an effect on your ability to perform well at school and work. Some children, who are labeled as having ADHD, may actually have an untreated vision problem. Bad eyesight can result in a reduced attention span or in difficult understanding printed material. In addition it can be difficult to clearly see a ball or the positions of your teammates if you have vision problems. Correcting the problem with glasses and help to improve sport performance.

Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults and children should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease.  If you’ve noticed any change in your vision, make an appointment with us for an eye exam by calling 757-643-8800. 


The Truth About “Lazy Eye”

lazy eyeContrary to popular belief, the condition that people coined as “lazy eye” is a visual impairment rather than an oddity in the eye’s shape or position. A person can have lazy eye without it being recognizable by someone else’s naked eyes. Severe cases, however, sometimes show apparent visual signs that the two eyes are not performing the same functions with the same precision.
The scientific name for lazy eye is amblyopia, and it occurs in up to three children out of every hundred, according to the National Eye Institute. It is a condition that causes a reduction in vision abilities. The problem does not seem to respond to treatment with glasses or contacts, and it does not appear to be the product of an eye disease.

What Causes Lazy Eye?
Many factors can cause lazy eye. Strabismus, which is a disorder that crosses the eyes, could contribute to lazy eye. Many people confuse lazy eye with strabismus, but the conditions are separate and completely different. The condition could also come from nearsighted and farsighted variations between the two eyes where one is worse than the other. Specialists do not have an exact ironclad cause for lazy eye. Their summation is that the brain loses its controlling connection with one of the eyes for some reason.

What Are the Symptoms of Lazy Eye?
Lazy eye symptoms vary from subtle symptoms like squinting with one eye, to apparent symptoms such as eyes that wander and don’t seem to be acting as a team. A person who is suffering from lazy eye will have poor vision test results. The person will have a decline in capabilities that may gradually worsen, as well.

How to Treat Lazy Eye
Untreated lazy eye can result in permanent loss of eyesight in one eye. Therefore, it’s imperative that a person gets evaluated if he or she suspects the problem. Solutions such as patches and medications are available in addition to some training exercises. If you or your loved one is showing the symptoms of lazy eye, give a provider a call to get evaluated as quickly as possible.

Your eye specialist at Hampton Roads Eye Associates is qualified to diagnose and treat lazy eye.  If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your child, contact us for an appointment at (757) 643-8800.  

Eye Exams for Children and Adults – What’s the Difference?

eye examsDid you know that regardless of age, it is important to have regular and comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor? The frequency of exams recommended is based on age and any issues with vision or medical conditions. Here’s the minimum frequency that it’s recommended to visit the eye doctor, as based on the American Optometric Association (AOA) for adults and children.

All adults should have a comprehensive eye exam to check for vision, as well as other issues with the eyes every two years. Keep in mind that eye problems become more likely with age. For this reason, it’s often strongly recommended by many eye doctors that after age 40, the minimum with no risk factors is every one to two years and yearly at age 60. It’s recommended that those wearing eyeglasses or contacts have yearly eye exams. Those experiencing other vision problems, eye injury, or have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, connective tissue disorders, etc should have yearly eye exams unless told by their eye doctor that more frequent examination is necessary. For instance, it is often recommended that those with uncontrolled diabetes visit the eye doctor 2-3 times per year.

Children should have an initial eye exam with an eye doctor at 6 months, at age 3, and again around ages 5 or 6. After these initial eye exams, children should have an eye exam at least every two years until adulthood. Children that wear glasses or contacts should have a yearly eye exam. Yearly or even more frequent eye exams may be needed in some children, such as those with:

     -Premature birth or developmental delays
     -Fetal distress at birth or low Apgar scores
     -Infection during pregnancy (AIDS, herpes, rubella, etc)
     -Other vision problems, such as crossed eyes
     -Eye injury
     -Medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, and many others)

At Hampton Roads Eye Associates, both children and adults receive the highest quality eye care possible. We are uniquely situated to provide general eye exams, specialty eye care such as retinal testing, laser surgery and more, and our optical shop allows us to fit and order you and your child for glasses after your exam if the need arises. Please contact us at (757) 643-8800 to schedule your appointment or use our convenient online scheduling tool.

What can an eye exam tell you about your health?

eye exams and healthYou know that seeing your eye doctor is the best way to be sure that your eyes stay healthy. During your exam, your eye doctor may dilate your pupils so he can examine your optic nerves, retinas and blood vessels. Your eye care practitioner can tell a lot about the health of your body by looking at the health of your eyes.
Your Blood Pressure
If during your exam, your doctor notices kinks or tears in the blood vessels of your eyes, you may be asked about your blood pressure.  The condition of those blood vessels could suggest undiagnosed or unmanaged high blood pressure (hypertension).
Your Blood Sugar
Bleeding or yellowish fluid leaking in the blood vessels of the eye can signify diabetic neuropathy. Your eye care professional may encourage you to see your family physician for blood sugar screening. Properly managed blood sugar levels could save your vision.
Your Autoimmune System
Characterized by inflammation throughout the body, a dysfunctional autoimmune system can affect your joints, your internal organs, and your eyes. The immune system can attack the blood vessels in the back of the eye and on the retina, which can affect your vision. Anyone who has an autoimmune disorder should have regular eye exams.
Your Thyroid
Graves eye disease, also called thyroid eye disease, is another autoimmune disorder. In this case, the autoimmune issue causes an overactive thyroid. Symptoms could also include swelling around the eyes and protruding eyeballs. If you have a thyroid disorder, you may also notice fatigue, weight loss, and heat intolerance.
Your Nervous System
The optic nerve is the only area of the brain that can be seen from outside of the body. Vision problems could be one of the first signs you might notice if you were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Researchers suggest that optic nerve scans could also provide useful information for other neurological conditions.
Your eye doctor would be able to detect many other health conditions before you were aware of a problem. He can warn you of suspected tumors, aneurysms, or even cancer. Your comprehensive eye exam could be your first indication that you have a more serious health concern that should be investigated by your family physician.  Early detection is important for treatment for these critical medical issues.  If you have a known medical condition, be sure to see your eye care provider as often as recommended, and notify him of any changes in your health.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates provides qualified eye care professionals who are trained to identify major health issues during your eye health exam.  Please schedule an appointment with us today, at 757-643-8800.  Our board certified ophthalmologists are ready to help you with your eye care health and treatment.  


HREA Oyster Point Features Dr. Steven Kitay!

VA eye doctorHampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point is pleased to feature Dr. Steven Kitay on our blog this month. Dr. Steven E. Kitay, M.D., joined Hampton Roads Eye Associates in 2001 as a comprehensive Ophthalmologist. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Kitay has many specialties including:

  • micro-incision sutureless cataract surgery using topical anesthesia
  • medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma
  • diabetic eye exams
  • dry eye management
  • general ophthalmic medical and surgical services


Dr. Steven Kitay, M.D.

Dr Kitay’s favorite part about being an Ophthalmologist is the day-to-day challenges, some easy and some difficult in helping people see better! Dr. Kitay is a cataract specialist, and has performed over 9,000 cases. He is now offering laser assisted cataract surgery and is a certified iStent surgeon. Dr. Kitay uses new technology lenses such as the Toric lens for astigmatism, the TECNIS® Multifocal Lens lens and the Crystalens.



Dr. Kitay graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kitay received his internship training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he also completed his Ophthalmology Residency and served as Chief Resident during his final year.



Dr. Kitay is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is a member of the Virginia Medical Society and the Newport News Medical Society. Dr. Kitay is also a Practice Liason/Physician Practice Director for Hampton Roads Eye Associates, and serves as chair for the Physician’s Advisory Panel of the Riverside Hampton Surgery Center. In 2012, Dr. Kitay was awarded the “Top Doc” Award from Hampton Roads Magazine.


Outside the Office

Outside of his ophthalmology practice, Dr. Kitay enjoys many pastimes including:

  • golfing
  • playing tennis
  • biking
  • spending time in the kitchen
  • working outside in the yard.


Dr. Kitay resides in Newport News with his wife and two children. Read on to learn more about Dr. Steven Kitay.

At Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point, our top priority is your eye health! We offer comprehensive eye exams for patients of any age, specialized eye care and treatment for a broad range of vision problems to the Hampton Roads community. Our Optometrists and Ophthalmologists are highly qualified in all areas of eye care. Schedule your exam online or call us today (757) 643-8800.

Meet Our Doctors: Featuring Dr. Denise Chamblee M.D. from Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point

At Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point, our top priority is your eye health! We offer comprehensive eye exams for patients of any age, specialized eye care and treatment for a broad range of vision problems to the Hampton Roads community. Our Optometrists and Ophthalmologists are highly qualified in all areas of eye care.

Meet Dr. Denise Chamblee M.D.

Dr. Denise R. Chamblee, M.D. is a Board Certified and fellowship trained Pediatric Ophthalmologist. She joined Hampton Roads Eye Associates in 1993. Dr. Chamblee’s education and training includes:

  • Hampton Roads eye associatesB.A., University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
  • M.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
  • Transitional Internship, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Ophthalmology Residency, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Pediatric Ophthalmology Fellowship, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC with the “Father of Pediatric Ophthalmology,” Dr. Marshall Parks.

Dr. Chamblee is involved with the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) and the Children’s Eye Foundation. With these organizations, she is currently working on a national level public service project to ensure children have access to eye care and that ocular conditions are detected early. If undetected or untreated, many conditions can have substantial longterm or irreversible implications for the quality of life of a child and their family. She is also a Board Member of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company and An Achievable Dream Academy.

Awards & Honors

Dr. Denise Chamblee has been voted one of the “Best Docs” numerous times. Dr. Chamblee is also the recipient of the Community Builders Award given by The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Virginia. This award is in recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community. In addition, Dr. Chamblee was awarded the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2012, and the Doctor of Dreams in 2010.

Personal Interests

“There is something innately beautiful about days filled with children. Their laughter, hugs and innocence keep me smiling, refreshed and focused on what is really important.” says Dr. Chamblee. In her spare time, Dr. Chamblee enjoys kite surfing, hiking, snowboarding, golf, and particularly spending time with her family and friends.

If you suspect your child needs vision correction or an appointment with a Pediatric Ophthalmologist, call (757) 643-8800 or schedule an appointment online today.