Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » A HIDDEN ASSUMPTION

    Filed at 8:14 am under by dcobranchi

    This lede caught my eye (no pun intended):

    Children who are younger than 5 years old should be screened in the primary care setting for vision problems, including lazy eye, crossed eyes, and near-and far-sightedness, according to a new recommendation issued today from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

    2 Responses to “A HIDDEN ASSUMPTION”

    Comment by
    May 29th, 2004
    at 12:30 pm

    Our daughter Claire, now 7, had her first eye exam at age 3 and did just fine. At age 4 she couldn’t read the letters. I knew she knew the letters and was dumbfounded that I didn’t know she had vision problems. Turns out she had what doctors called a “whopping” astigmatism in both eyes, one much worse than the other. She was primarily using the better of the two and the other one was becoming lazy. That’s amblyopia. It wasn’t a lazy eye that you could see looking at her. She got glasses and we patched the good eye for almost a year to make the lazy eye stronger. Hooray–Something that simple actually worked. Here is the kicker–if we hadn’t caught it then, it might not have been fixable. The vision center of the brain is fully developed by age 7 and cannot be re-trained after that point. So to sum up my long story, I concur that it’s a really good idea to get your kid’s eyes tested from a young age.

    PS I recently found your website and am glad I did. Thank you Daryl for putting good info in one spot for the rest of us. –Homeschooling Mama in Ohio.

    Comment by
    May 30th, 2004
    at 3:40 pm

    Here’s our sad story: Our kid was screened twice during preschool. The first screen found no problems, the second one (Red Cross) said amblyopia. We took her to a college of optometry that was highly recommended for its pediatric department, they checked her out and said no problem. By age 5 her eyes were visibly crossed about half the time, and the verdict was amblyopia and it was too late to patch. So we embarked upon a long and expensive journey of updating her lenses every four to six months, to try to keep up with her galloping myopia, punch up the vision in the week eye so she’d use it, and not correct her vision so much that her eyes crossed but enough that she could function at school. The ophthalmologist didn’t hold out much hope that she’d outgrow those problems, but she mostly has. Her eyes don’t cross anymore unless she’s sick or very tired. She’s about 20/700 uncorrected but last year for the first time (at age 16) he was able to get her to 20/20 with glasses. (We never thought that would happen.) And with the new materials, they aren’t coke bottle glasses, which is nice. He had to write a note for her to get her learner’s permit, though, because her eyes do not work together well enough for her to pass the highway patrol’s vision test.

    I’ve since learned that screens may or may not catch problems in preschoolers, and it’s better for parents to check their kids’ eyes repeatedly over time. When the kid is watching TV, cover one eye at a time and watch his reaction. If he consistently pulls away when one eye is covered but not the other, that’s a definite trip to the ophthalmologist. Also make sure he can pick up specific cheerios or M&Ms and the like, and doesn’t feel around for them; and that he can track birds flying overhead. Finally, spend some time with the kid playing catch with a big soft ball. That’s great exercise for developing stereoscopic vision.