Today’s blog post is a newspaper article about the La Plata Lions PVS team. The article was part of the last district 22-C newsletter.
The La Plata Lions PVS team had another successful year again during the 2018-2019 club year. A grand total of 1, 228 preschool children were screened with a total number of 229 referrals to pediatric eye-care for evaluation and necessary treatment so these children can have clear vision during their education.
In April of 2013, when my daughter Brianna was 6, she had a vision screening at school conducted by volunteers from Bloomfield Lions Club in our home town in Ontario County, New York. She received a referral for a full eye examination. I was not concerned as back in February, Brianna’s eye exam at the pediatrician’s office was normal. Plus, my oldest daughter wears glasses. I made an appointment with our family optometrist for 2 weeks later. There, we found out that we had an emergency.
ANXIOUS HOURS, DAYS
It was Saturday, and our doctor was unable to reach a specialist willing to see Bri immediately. Therefore, she advised we go to an emergency room. When I said I knew a surgeon at a local hospital, she replied, “If you have any cards, you need to play them right now.”
When babies are born they still have to learn how to see. In the beginning, it is often difficult for them to properly coordinate the movement of both eyes and to fix objects. That’s why babies squint sometimes. If strabismus occurs temporarily in the first few months, this is no cause for concern. It is properly the so-called baby squint. But parents should pay attention on how the squint develops – does it occur less or does the child still squint?
Usually, most children do not need a complete eye examination; however, all children should have serial screenings. Objective, device-based vision screening or photoscreening is an excellent way to accomplish screening in young children. With the right referral criteria in place, screenings in preschoolers can help to identify risk factors for amblyopia. Therefore, children’s screening should be performed yearly.
Recently the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus added the option of photoscreening for children ages 12 months to 36 months to its recommendations. If a child fails the screening, it is then referred to an eye care provider for a complete eye examination with dilation.1 Not all children who have a refractive error will need to wear glasses; the treatment will depend on their individual situation and factors such as age and the level of risk for developing amblyopia.
Therefore, it is crucial that there is a follow through when a child is referred with a “Refer” screening result for a complete exam. Communication is key throughout this process, starting with the person who performs the vision screening.
Photoscreening is an efficient and effective method of identifying kids at risk for amblyopia.
The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) serves a 12,000-member community located on a large, mostly uninhabited island in Alaska. I am a Developmental Specialist with the KANA Infant Learning Program. This is a part of the Alaska Early Intervention system that works with young children, who are experiencing developmental delays, or are at risk of developing such delays, and their families.
KANA collaborates with Alaska Blind Child Discovery (ABCD), a cooperative, charitable research project to conduct vision screening on every preschooler in Alaska. ABCD is the brain child of pediatric ophthalmologist Robert Arnold, MD. During his pediatric fellowship at Indiana University, Dr. Arnold became intrigued with detecting small-angle strabismus using the Brückner Test. After starting practice in Anchorage with Ophthalmic Associates in 1989, he began publishing clinical research around modifying the test. As his interest in photoscreening advanced, Dr. Arnold began working with public health nurses, and later various charities to launch screening clinics in urban and remote villages.