Healthy Vision Month
Chelsea* is a 7-year-old who is excited about being in the second grade. Because her parents moved over the summer, she is starting a new school, Oak Grove Elementary. Chelsea is adapting well to her new environment. She plays with the other children during recess, and she has even been invited to a classmate’s birthday party.
So when her first report card came along, her parents were surprised to find that her performance had decreased quite a bit from last year. At the student-teacher conference, the teacher reported that Chelsea often squinted at the blackboard and sometimes complained of headaches after staring at the board. As a result of these observations, Chelsea got her eyes examined and received new eyeglasses. Her parents could see the improvement in her performance right away.
Five to 10% of all preschoolers have some form of visual impairment. The most common causes are refractive error and amblyopia, comprising 5 to 7 % and 1 to 4 % of visual impairment in preschool children respectively.1 Refractive error is one of the most easily remedied eye conditions. Corrective lenses can improve a child’s day-to-day functioning.
Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is defined as poor vision in one eye that is otherwise physically normal. One might notice this when a child’s eye gets out of focus and turns out of alignment with the other eye. What occurs is that one eye is seeing significantly better than the other eye, causing the weaker eye to become misaligned. In addition to early detection, primary treatment for amblyopia can include patching or eye drops to give the stronger eye a rest and to help strengthen the weaker eye at the same time. For further information about these and other conditions contact your child’s eye doctor today.
* This is an example of what many people with refractive error and amblyopia may experience. Models are for illustrative purposes only.
1 Screening for Visual Impairment in Children Ages 1 to 5 Years, Topic Page. January 2011. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsvsch.htmExternal