Office Policies

Ophthalmic Services

Dr. Marcia Hutcheon is an eye physician and surgeon. She examines children of all ages. This includes eye examinations for prescribing glasses, contact lenses and the treatment of pediatric ophthalmic disease. A large segment of her patient population has strabismus (misaligned eyes). Strabismus is fairly common in adults as well as children, and she performs strabismus surgery on both children and adults.

Careful Attention to Detail

Our goal is to examine and treat your child’s eyes with careful attention to detail and to help you understand the results of the examination. Most pediatric eye problems can be handled by the Pediatric Ophthalmologist alone. Some children present with eye conditions that require the advice of other medical or surgical specialists. We will coordinate this care through your pediatrician and the other specialists.

Patient Forms

Please download, print, complete, and brings these forms for your office visit.


Covid Bulletin

This section is to advise you on how my practice will go forward at this stage of the Covid pandemic. Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and peoples' willingness to get vaccinated, I have been able to reopen my practice albeit on a smaller scale. Many thanks to all of you who have worked with me to get eye care for your children. My heart goes out to those who suffered loss of family and friends during this sad time.

As Covid is still out there and mutating, we are taking precautions to keep patients, their families, and my staff safe. To keep an empty waiting room there are fewer slots to schedule appointments, so please be patient with us as we try to schedule everyone.

To minimize your time in the waiting room on arrival, there are 2 forms we ask you to download and fill out at home on the day of your visit. You will find the forms on this website under Office Policies/Forms. Please hand carry the forms to the office. If your child is dilated, we will advise you on the best time to return for the second part of the exam so that you do not have to hang out in the waiting room. Please note that the normal length of time from start to finish for a dilated exam is at least 2 hours.

Masks are still required in health care facilities. All patients over 2 years of age must wear a mask. Only the patient and one parent or guardian is to enter the outer waiting room. Patients under 18 years of age will be seen with only one adult in the exam room. No siblings or other relatives will be allowed into the examination room. Patients over 18 years of age may be asked to come back alone.

Please do not under any circumstance bring your child to the office if he or she is sick. We understand and accept last minute cancellations. We will turn you away on arrival if your child has symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, nausea or fatigue. There is no financial penalty for canceled appointments, and we will gladly reschedule you in a timely fashion.

We are here for you and reachable for questions, prescriptions, contact lenses and records. Please call the office (301) 977-0167 and leave a voice mail at any time. If your call is not returned in a timely fashion, use the office email on the web page to communicate with us.


When should my child have his or her first eye examination?
Babies and young children will come to the doctor's attention early on if they have obvious problems such as strabismus, blocked tear ducts or eyelid lesions, absent red reflexes, prematurity or genetic disorders. If there is a strong family history of strabismus or amblyopia (blindness in one eye), early examinations before 18 months of age are recommended even if no abnormalities of the eyes are detected. Otherwise the recommendation by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics is that all children should be "screened" at three years of age. A reliably performed preschool screening test or the reading of an age appropriate eye chart at your pediatrician's office may be sufficient. It is critical that the eyes be tested separately. If there are any doubts about your child's response to the screening test or if your child fails vision screening for any reason, you should schedule an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist right away.
What is your policy on missed appointments?
We do not charge for missed appointments. We understand that children get sick suddenly and that people change their minds about seeking care here. However, we request that you leave us a message as soon as you know you cannot keep the appointment even if it is the same day. We will gladly reschedule your appointment in a timely fashion when you call us.
Why do you dilate my child's eyes?
Large pupils are necessary for the ophthalmologist to properly examine the retina which lines the inner eye. Dilating drops prevent the pupils from constricting when lights from the ophthalmic instruments are shined in the eyes. Another effect of the eye drops is to relax the eye's focusing muscle which is located behind the iris. This allows for a more accurate measurement (refraction) of your child's eye glasses prescription or to rule out the need for glasses. Note that this "defocusing" of the eyes for refraction is usually not necessary in adult patients.
How long do the dilating drops last?
The pupils can stay enlarged for up to two days, however, the norm is 24 hours. During this time your child may be light sensitive. Indoor activities, baseball caps or sunglasses may provide comfort. Blurred vision from the dilating drops generally lasts about eight hours. The extent of the blurred vision is variable depending on your child's type of eyesight. Please note that baseline vision returns more rapidly than pupil size. In other words, if your child's eyes are still dilated the next day, he or she is visually stable and can attend school.
How long will my child's appointment take?
There are two types of appointments: dilated examinations and rechecks. All new pediatric patients and those coming in for yearly follow-up will undergo a full examination with dilating eye drops. Dilated visits involve a waiting period for the eye drops to take effect, and the whole appointment will take at least two hours of your time. Best not to park in the one hour visitor slots! Recheck visits take less time because they do not involve the use of dilating drops. While dilating, patients can play or read in the waiting room. You may need to read to your child once the drops kick in. We have a variety of books and informational magazines such as "mental_floss" in the waiting room. On that note, we welcome the addition of used children's books to our collection if you're cleaning out your basement. Some families like to go for a walk or get a bite to eat in the neighborhood during the long wait. As in all medical offices, no food or beverage of any kind is permitted in our space. There are picnic tables outdoors in the parking lot perimeter if anyone needs a snack.
Where does the doctor perform eye surgery?
Dr. Hutcheon performs surgery at the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital ( and the Montgomery Surgery Center
What is a Refraction?
REFRACTION is the procedure by which your eye doctor determines the need for glasses as well as the actual prescription for these glasses. This is the back and forth, "better one or two," process you all know and joke about. Children are refracted after their eyes are dilated in order to relax up close focusing and obtain more accurate distance measurements. Very young and nonverbal children are also refracted, but the measurements are made objectively through dilated pupils without subjective responses.
Is a refraction fee covered by my insurance?
The short answer is "not in this office." To explain, a refraction is a routine component of a yearly dilated eye examination even if your child is followed for eye disease. As such, routine refraction fees are covered only by Vision Plans, not medical insurance. We do not participate in or accept any Vision Plans which are indicated as a separate rider on your medical insurance card. The fee for this service is due on the date of the exam, and it is only charged on the days your child is dilated. Please note that because we do not accept Vision Plans, yearly comprehensive eye examinations for those without eye disease are the responsibility of the patient and must be paid on the day of the visit. In this case, there is no separate refraction fee. Please call the office for the current cost of a routine eye examination or refraction. We can provide you with a receipt to submit to your Vision Plan on your own.

Pediatric Ophthalmology & Adult Strabismus

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