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Good vision helps infants and children learn and develop

Updated: Monday, Jun 14,2010, 5:36:16 PM
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Good vision helps infants and children learn and develop


that after age 40, periodic screenings by an ophthalmologist can help detect a variety of age-related eye conditions. These include:

    * Cataracts - In this condition, the normally clear lens of the eye become cloudy or opaque, leading to progressive changes that include blurred vision, sensitivity to light and increased nearsightedness (myopia).
    * Macular degeneration - This is the most common cause of severe vision loss in people over the age of 65. It can cause a dark spot to appear in the center of vision. It can also make straight lines appear wavy and should be treated immediately if suspected.
    * Glaucoma - In this condition, fluid pressure inside the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve and progressive vision loss.

In certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, there may be no apparent symptoms until the disease has progressed, which is why regular screenings can be so important. In many cases, early detection can help prevent or slow the progression of these diseases.


Good vision helps infants and children learn and develop. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that, in most cases, a newborn's eyes should be examined for general health, with a full eye screening by six months of age, another screening at age 3-and-a-half and an additional pre-school screening at age 5. Proper screening can detect specific eye conditions, such as amblyopia or lazy eye, as well as potential learning disabilities. Eye exams can also help detect vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Older children may need periodic screening depending on their specific vision problems, or if any changes or injuries occur that affect their eyesight.

Precautions should also be taken to protect children's eyes from sun. children and infants should wear hats with a brim and sunglasses designed to block at least 99 percent of the sun's rays.

An eye exam should also test peripheral vision, refractive errors, and visual acuity. Of course, in addition to getting periodic screenings, we should also watch out for any sudden change in vision; such changes can indicate the need for immediate medical care. For example, sudden loss of vision in one eye can be a warning sign of several serious problems including stroke and/or retinal detachment.  It's also important that anyone with certain medical conditions that can affect their eyes, such as diabetes, gets their eyes checked regularly. Ask a doctor about your specific needs and family history to help determine the best way you can keep your eyes in healthy shape for life.

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