The Right to Sight!
SCHOOL GOING CHILDREN
“Vision problems affect one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school-age children” (Shroff Eye Vision Screening Program, Mumbai, 2003-4).
“Two to four percent of India’s children develop a squint [cross-eyed] and/or amblyopia [lazy eye]. Early detection and treatment of these disorders during childhood is essential for preventing permanent vision loss”.
In many cases the child doesn’t see well out of one eye, as there may be a refractive error [spectacle number] in just that one eye. Here the eyes do not work as a team to see. If your child’s brain doesn’t receive visual images from that eye, eventually the brain will “shut off” that eye and vision could be permanently impaired. This condition is often undetected because the child has learnt to read from the good eye. During an eye examination, where each eye is separately checked, one can diagnose this condition.
Examination of vision among pre-school and primary school-going children is very rarely practiced in India unless an obvious problem is noted. Often eye care is dealt with too late. It is possible to check the vision in children who cannot read alphabets. All children attending kindergarten must be checked at admission.
How to detect these common eye problems?
1. Basic eye examination for every newborn by the paediatrician.
2. All premature babies need an eye examination by an ophthalmologist
3. First detailed eye examination for all children age of 6 months; again at 2 years, and then annually.
4. Screenings at school are designed to alert parents to the possibility of a visual problem, but not take the place of a visit to an eye doctor. One study found that 11.3 percent of children who passed a vision screening were found to have a vision problem in need of correction.
5. Detailed eye examination by an ophthalmologist in the presence of visual impairment.
6. Follow-up annual examination by the ophthalmologist is recommended to stay on top of your child’s visual needs, as well as ensure that your child’s prescription for eyeglasses is still correct. The visual system is developing along with your child, so annual prescription changes are common.
A higher risk of eye problems at an early age in today’s times
“Many pediatric eye doctors believe that heavy computer use among children puts them at risk for early myopia [short sightedness]” The average child now spends one to three hours per day on the computer doing homework, talking online with friends, and playing games. Parents encourage children as young as two or three years old to use the computer. Several recent studies have evidence that computers can have a negative impact on a child’s vision. They have found that 25% to 30% of computer-using children need corrective eyewear to work comfortably and safely at the computer at home or in school. See below in tips how to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome in children.
The Right to Sight!