Monday, October 26, 2009

Protect your child's vision.

The following was an excerpt from a recent article at Review of Optometry:

Some fundamental concepts about vision make it truly unique. One such fundamental is that vision is a learned skill that develops over time. Unlike hearing, which is fully developed at birth, vision is rudimentary. When born, babies are routinely given an auditory evoked potential test, which is effective at detecting hearing loss. Vision can be tested at this time, but a visual evoked potential test cannot detect all vision problems.

The visual system undergoes profound developmental changes in the first years of life—especially during infancy and toddlerhood. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment of visual problems can improve motor, cognitive and social development.1

Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States and the most prevalent handicapping condition in children.2 As many as 2% to 5% of preschool children—nearly four million children nationwide—are estimated to have impaired vision.3

A report by the National Eye Institute indicates that visual impairment in children is associated with developmental delays and the need for special educational, vocational and social services into adulthood.4 Of the 20 million children in America under age five, only 14% have had an eye exam. So, nearly 18 million children have not received an eye exam before entering school.5

Optometrists can take a proactive approach in addressing this alarming statistic. One of the newest avenues to provide infant examinations is the InfantSEE program. Managed by Optometry’s Charity—The AOA Foundation, InfantSEE is a program through which optometrists provide eye examinations for babies during their first year of life—a critical time when any findings may be treated proactively. The program is designed for babies between six and 12 months of age. Nine months is the ideal age to examine an infant. By nine months of age, the child is easy to examine, cooperates well, and also has undergone significant visual developmental milestones.

All children, and babies in particular, give you a finite amount of time to examine them before their attention shifts to something else. The problem is that you don’t know how much time you have! So, the key is to move through the examination efficiently. Also, try to obtain as much information as quickly as possible. So, here are some tips that may help when you find a very young patient in your exam chair.

1 comment:

toddlerglasses said...

What a great easy-to-read overview of vision development in infants and young children! Also, it looks like the tips for examining young children are missing.

Also, do you have the citation for the original article?

Ann (