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    Stressing the need for child vision screenings

     

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    Child’s Eye Health and Safety Month is also a reminder for physicians, whether a primary-care provider, or a school nurse, to use the best age-appropriate tools that are effective for examining child vision, she added.

    “We need to get the message out in the entire community of why vision is important and why it is important to detect these vision problems early,” she said. “Over the years, that message has not disseminated into the public.”

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    For ophthalmologists who may not see many children in their practice, the opportunity is still available to talk to adult patients about their children and grandchildren’s need for regular eye screenings, she said.

    She also encourages ophthalmologists to raise the issue of children’s eye health when they are involved in the community.

    “Overall, we have progressed a lot in the last 15 to 20 years, but we do have ways to go,” Dr. Ramsey said.

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    As with other ocular diseases, a child may not overtly complain when an eye disease is present simply because that impaired visual state is the “normal.” This is why raising awareness for childhood vision testing is crucial.

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    Jane Edmond, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), encourages that the ophthalmic community to be a key player in generating greater awareness of children’s vision testing.

    “Good vision and overall eye health are vital to learning and development,” she said. “Because children are still growing, being vigilant about eye health is important. The earlier problems are identified, the sooner they can be detected, addressed, and treated.”

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    Recently, more scientific studies have linked poor school performance in literacy skills with vision problems. In addition, researchers such as Roger Harrie, MD, have discovered apparent links between poor vision and delinquency in adolescents. Dr. Harrie, professor of ophthalmology, John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, is also undertaking research to explore whether the intensity of the eye disease is correlated to the severity of the crime committed.

    Prevent Blindness also recommends that any child who is having difficulty in school be tested for color blindness (color vision deficiency), which is more likely to affect males than females.

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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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