The key to pediatric eye care to support normal development of vision and overall well-being

ByMartha R. Camara

Sep 15, 2022

September 15, 2022

2 minute read


Kazemi I, and. Al. The ABCs of Pediatric Vision. Presented at: Vision Expo West; September 14-17, 2022; Vegas.

Kazemi and Hoff do not report any relevant financial information.

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LAS VEGAS — Early detection of vision problems in infants and children is key to preventing poor academic performance, low self-esteem and antisocial behavior, according to presenters at Vision Expo West.

“A child does not understand what it means to see correctly” Isabel Kazemi, OD, FAAO, a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, said. “So they really can’t explain that they have a vision problem. We therefore have a duty to educate adults about the importance of pediatric eye care.

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One of the most important steps in pediatric eye care is to encourage parents to follow the recommended schedule for eye exams: an infant’s first eye exam should take place between 6 and 9 months, followed by another between 3 and 5 years old, and children of school age should receive annual examinations, Kazemi and Michelle J. Hoff, OD, FAAO, ABOM, FNAO, also a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, told attendees.

School eye screenings are not a substitute for an eye exam by an optometrist, as they provide less than 4% of a complete eye exam and can create a “false sense of security for children who pass the screening, but actually have some sort of vision problem,” according to Kazemi.

“Parents should be aware that school screenings may not provide the same results as a comprehensive eye exam,” she said. “Vision screenings can actually miss 75% of vision problems.”

Additionally, less than 15% of preschoolers see an eye doctor, according to presenters, which can lead to missed vision problems that need to be caught early to prevent future problems.

“There is a proven link between untreated vision problems, literacy and incarceration, and better vision care means a more literate and productive workforce,” Kazemi said.

Regular comprehensive eye exams can also facilitate proper frame fitting and lens design for children with conditions such as amblyopia or for children who play sports.

Kazemi and Hoff reiterated the importance of healthy habits for children, including a balanced diet, spending time outdoors, using appropriate UV protection and limiting screen time, to help prevent conditions affecting vision such as myopia, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration later. in life.

“Early detection and treatment of pediatric visual problems is key to promoting normal visual development, which is critical to the learning process as well as academic and athletic success,” Kazemi said. “Everyone wins when we take good care of our children.”