UA Ophthalmologist Demonstrates New Tools for Screening Children's Vision

George Humphrey
Dec. 12, 2000

The latest equipment in technology-based vision screening for young children was demonstrated Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Department of Opthalmology, 655 N. Alvernon Way, Suite 108. Three experts in pediatric eye disease and visual development will present a lecture and demonstration on "New Strategies for Preschool Vision." They showed how these tools - alternatives to eye charts - such as photorefraction, autorefraction and automated visual acuity testing strategies can be used for early detection of vision abnormalities in preschool-age children.

Up to 3 percent of children younger than age 6 have strabismus, or misalignment of the eye, said Joseph M. Miller, M.D., associate professor at the University of Arizona department of ophthalmology. Strabismus can lead to amblyopia, secondary vision loss related to disease of the pathways. Amblyopia is the leading cause of monocular vision loss in children, as well as impairment of depth perception, peripheral vision and contrast sensitivity.

Amblyopia is potentially reversible if detected during the critical period for visual development and treated appropriately. Early detection and initiation of treatment before the child enters first grade are essential in preventing permanent visual impairment. "The younger the child is when eye problems are detected and corrected, the better the child will see later on," said Dr. Miller.

Screening vision and eye examinations also may detect other common conditions such as nystagmus and refractive problems, as well as rare diseases such as retinoblastoma, infantile glaucoma, cataract and retinal disease, he said.

The demonstration by Dr. Miller, Velma Dobson, Ph.D., professor, and Erin M Harvey, M.A., research lecturer, is part of the UA department of ophthalmology Science of Eye Disease Seminar Series, presented quarterly for the medical community.




Resources for the media