Blindness is defined as having 20/200 vision in the better-seeing eye that cannot be improved with surgery, medication or eyeglasses.
Such a severe degree of vision loss can be very challenging for children and their families.
But what if some of those cases – even half of those cases – could be prevented?
A new study sheds light on the main causes of childhood blindness, and the need to [prioritize] early eye exams—even right after birth and during the first year of a baby’s life—in order to prevent vision loss in children.
What Are the Leading Causes of Blindness?
A new joint study conducted by researchers at Stanford University and Hanyang University Seoul Hospital suggests that many, perhaps most, children suffering from serious eye conditions could retain their vision with timely treatment.
The researchers studied the data of 961 blind children included in the IRIS® Registry, a comprehensive eye disease registry compiled by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). After analyzing the data, researchers discovered that many of the children became blind from retinopathy of prematurity (31.3%), nystagmus (8.1%) and cataracts (6.7%).
Blindness from these conditions can often be treated and even prevented, the researchers noted.
Can Vision Loss Be Prevented in Children?
Scott R. Lambert, professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at Stanford University and the study’s co-author, said more needs to be done to prevent blindness in children.
Lambert noted that retinopathy of prematurity “is still a serious problem” that needs to be addressed by every neonatal intensive care unit to ensure that newborns retain their vision. Furthermore, he said that cataract removal delays are causing unnecessary vision loss.
What Can Parents Do?
What can you do to protect your children’s precious vision?
Having your child's eyesight checked regularly starting soon after birth and then during infancy allows their eye doctor to diagnose and treat eye conditions early, when treatment can significantly lower the risks of developing blindness.
To learn more or to book your appointment, we invite you to give us a call. Our eye care professionals at Eye Care Associates at Flagstaff are able to provide these vital pediatric eye exams during early childhood and beyond.
Q: Can blindness in babies be reversed?
- A: If detected early, vision loss caused by specific eye conditions can often be reversed. This is why it's so important to keep your child's eyes checked regularly by an eye doctor. Call Eye Care Associates at Flagstaff to schedule an appointment today.
Q: How often should children’s eyes be tested?
- A: Generally, children should have their eyes checked before 6 months of age, then yearly at ages 1, 2 and 3, and before starting school. Many optometrists recommend annual eye exams through 12th grade to ensure that if your child has myopia (nearsightedness) or another eye condition, it can be detected early.
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