Pediatric vision screening is a short examination that can indicate the presence of a problem before it causes irreversible damage. Approximately 2% to 4% of children have eye problems that require treatment by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Early recognition of these conditions can result in effective, sight-saving treatment.
A child’s first vision screening takes place in the nursery shortly after birth. Ideally, pediatricians should continue to perform age-appropriate screenings through childhood. Because many vision problems begin well before children reach school age, a baseline vision screening should be done before a child reaches 5 years of age.
Vision screening identifies children with reduced visual acuity or risk factors that threaten the healthy growth and development of the eye and visual system. Screening assesses vision, ocular alignment and the presence of ocular structural abnormalities.
When screening reveals signs or symptoms of a vision problem or known risk factors for eye disease, the child should be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a comprehensive ophthalmic exam. The exam will identify factors that may cause visual loss early in life; determine the health of the eye and related structures; and assess refractive errors. The ophthalmologist will provide a plan of care to address the issues.
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