Updated 11/14/2012 05:00 AM
Healthy Living: Vision screenings can help children clear eyesight problems
It is estimated that 80 percent of what kids learn is visual, and so it's important that parents make sure their children's vision is clear. YNN's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
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Five-year-old Domonique Campbell has esotropia, a condition where the eye turns in. She also has amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye."
Fortunately, Domonique was diagnosed early, at the age of two. Dr. Ilana Friedman, an ophthalmologist at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, says parents may not always be aware that their child has vision trouble.
"That's why it's so important to have a vision screening sometime between the age of three and five and a comprehensive exam at an ophthalmologist. so that we can pick up children who think that the whole world is blurry because that's the only thing they know," Friedman says.
If there is a family history of eye disorders, Friedman recommends that the child be brought in at even an earlier age.
"Refractive errors or the need for glasses can often run in families, and I have many patients whose families all have astigmatism or all have nearsightedness," says Friedman. "But in addition, any family history of things like cross eyes, lazy eyes or significant visual problems should prompt a parent to bring the child in for a baseline exam sometime in their toddler years, even if they don't see any signs of a vision problem."
Some signs parents can look for include if a child squints, holds a book or object close to read, complains of headaches or tilts the head when watching TV or using a computer.
"If we can identify them early, get them into the proper glasses and do any sort of visual rehab therapy, such as patching or drops at an early age, we can often improve vision significantly," says Friedman.
Lastly, many parents insist that sitting too close to the TV or excessive use of the computer will result in glasses, but that is not necessarily the case.
"They won't actually harm your vision, but they can strain the eyes and a lot of those patients experience serious dry eyes or fatigue," says Friedman.
So make sure a child take breaks and keeps a distance.