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    Stressing the need for child vision screenings

    As parents and educators around the country are preparing this August for “Back to School” season, it is also Child Eye Health and Safety Month, serving as a reminder for parents, educators, and eye-care providers of the importance of vision screening for children.

    Related: Why pediatric ophthalmologists don't go to late night parties

    “The big message we need to get across is, ‘How is my child’s vision?’” said Jean Ramsey, MD, MPH, vice chair of education and program director of ophthalmology, associate professor of ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston. “All too often, I think people take it for granted [that] the eyes are there and they see.”

    Of all people, ophthalmologists know that eye diseases commonly go undiagnosed and untreated, but the earlier they are detected, the better chances for responsive treatment.

    Risk Factors

    Risk factors for eye disease in young children include:

    ·      Family history: If relatives had amblyopia, strabismus, or wore glasses at an early age.

    ·      Prematurity: A higher percentage of premature children develop misaligned eyes or need glasses in the future.

    Children with such risk factors should be seen for a comprehensive eye exam and followed up regularly.

    Related: Strategies may eliminate issues impeding Tunisian pediatric care

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of potential eye disease include:

    ·      Any misalignment of the eye when the child is awake and alert

    ·      Squinting

    ·      Excessive tearing

    ·      Persistently holding things close to the face

    ·      Verbal complaints of itchy or dry eyes

    Recent: Determining best cases for IOL implantation in children

    “Screening between the ages of 3 and 5 [years] should give enough time for a diagnosis and in a best-case scenario resolve the problem,” Dr. Ramsey said.

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    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at [email protected]

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