Eye health and vision care is important at any age. Having 20/20 vision is the vision that most of us want because it means we have very good vision. Testing for good vision or 20/20 vision when children are young is especially important. It is during this time that we can prevent future problems if detection early on is successful. Let’s first start with asking, what is 20/20 vision about?
WHAT DOES 20/20 MEAN TO PEOPLE?
The term 20/20 vision may mean different things to different people. For one, a phrase most of us are very familiar with is “hindsight is 20/20”, meaning: If you only had a better understanding of a situation, it might have turned out better or different. For others, a 2020 outlook could have meant a bright and perfect future.
Did you know currently 1 out of every 5 children is born with some kind of vision disorder? If not diagnosed before age 5, vision disorders can cause children to have difficulty with learning, self-confidence and even career choices. In order to help children with diagnosis and treatment, the goal of the Oregon Elks Children’s Eye Clinic is to provide some of the best eye care in the world. – An article by Lee Stark, RN, BSN
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?
As children get ready to head back to school, we reflect on the importance of vision for learning. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper released a proclamation recognizing the prevalence of undiagnosed and untreated vision disorders. He states that as many as one in four school-age children has vision problems. Vision problems are the most common disorders among children. Coloradoans are reminded to recognize the importance of education in children’s lives. “Parents are encouraged to have their children evaluated for vision problems to maximize their potential in the classroom,” Gov. Hickenlooper said.
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.