Vision screening for children as young as a year old recommended
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Children as young as a year old can be reliably
screened for amblyopia ("lazy eye") according to researchers at the University of Iowa. The
study reporting this finding was published online on February 11 in the journal Pediatrics. (LongmuirSQ,
Boese EA, Pfeifer W, Zimmerman B, Short L, Scott WE. Practical
CommunityPhotoscreening in Very Young Children. Pediatrics. 2013 Feb 11).
The study reporting this finding was published online on February 11 in the journal Pediatrics. (LongmuirSQ, Boese EA, Pfeifer W, Zimmerman B, Short L, Scott WE. Practical CommunityPhotoscreening in Very Young Children. Pediatrics. 2013 Feb 11 ).
Using a specialized camera, symptoms of amblyopia can be detected by photoscreening, long before a parent might notice a problem.
Dr. Susannah Longmuir, assistant
professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Iowa was
the corresponding author on the paper. Dr. Longmuir points out that if amblyopia is not caught before a child begins school, it may be too late to treat it and the earlier amblyopia
is identified, the better. The study goal was to provide the evidence needed to
include toddlers in the standard recommendations for vision screening.
"We wanted to see if
we could reliably screen the younger children (1 to 3 year olds) just as well
as the 3-5 year olds," says Wanda Pfeifer, a University of Iowa Orthoptist
and a co-author of the paper.
Trained volunteers across Iowa were
trained "to conduct free vision screening events with the MIT
PhotoScreener." This is an adapted camera that takes pictures of the eye.
It looks for risk factors of amblyopia.
During the first 11 years of its
existence (May 2000 to April 2011), Iowa KidSight conducted 210,695 screenings
of children's eyes. The youngest children were 6 months old, the oldest
were 7 to 8 years old. The average age was 3.4 years. The study’s results
that early screening, before amblyopia is more pronounced, can reliably detect
risk factors of
amblyopia in children younger than 3 years of
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