June 2009




Routine screening for urban preschoolers a necessity



Vision problems, though still rare among urban preschoolers, may be more common than originally thought, according to a study conducted at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Published in the April issue of Ophthalmology, the comprehensive eye disease study of this subset of young children in Baltimore also found that a small group of children with easily treatable vision problems go untreated, while others get unnecessary treatments.

Lead investigator David Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and fellow researchers wrote that 5% of the nearly 2,300 Baltimore area children who were followed in the study had refractive errors that required treatment. Only 1% of them, however, were actually treated, according to a press release.

Further, the researchers found that out of 29 children who had a prescription for eyeglasses before entering the study, more than one-third didn’t need eyeglasses.

The study also showed that 1 in 20 children studied had easily treatable problems. As such, the researchers suggested that pediatricians routinely screen their patients during physicals and parents should insist on screening by age 4.

“The good news is that serious eye disease in preschoolers appears to be uncommon, but the bad news is that we’re missing kids who need treatment and treating some children who don’t need it,” Michael X. Repka, M.D., deputy director of ophthalmology, Hopkins Children’s Center, said in the press release.

Additionally, contrary to previous research suggesting that most infants outgrow their farsightedness in the first few years of life, the study found few Baltimore children outgrew it during their preschool years, making early diagnosis and treatment critical, Dr. Friedman said in the press release.

Source: http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/


Reported by: EyeWorld News Services

Routine screening for urban preschoolers a necessity Routine screening for urban preschoolers a necessity
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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