ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
Eating Less May Slow Aging Process
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Add your Article

Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The standard test for checking the vision of young children cannot be completely trusted, Johns Hopkins University researchers report.

The test, called fixation preference test (FPT), is used to evaluate visual acuity, which is the ability of the eyes to focus images on the macula, the part of the eye that handles detailed vision.

"Current methods of testing vision in very young children need to be re-assessed," said lead researcher Dr. David S. Friedman, an associate professor of ophthalmology and international health at Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute.

The report was published in the October issue of Ophthalmology.

For the study, Friedman's team evaluated visual acuity in 1,504 children aged 30 to 71 months. The researchers used a series of tests including FPT and the Amblyopia Treatment Study test (ATS).

For the FPT, each eye is covered and then uncovered, which determines how well the eyes maintain fixation. The test is designed to measure visual acuity in the best eye. The purpose of the ATS test is to measure visual acuity in children aged 30 months and older.

The researchers found that the FPT, which is considered the standard for testing vision in young children and the only test available to most eye specialists, did not accurately identify problems in visual acuity.

The inaccuracy of the FPT was apparent, when the researchers compared test results between FPT and ATS among children who were able to take both tests.

Dr. Sandra Block, a professor of optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, isn't surprised that the FPT isn't foolproof.

"What we want to find out in children that are preschool age is a decrease in vision due to amblyopia such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or a significant astigmatism, which leads to 'lazy eye,'" Block said. "One test that looks at visual acuity in the good seeing eye does not give a full picture. We may be missing some of the amblyopia."

"It's very important in screening that we look at each eye individually, otherwise, we are going to miss some of those kids," Block said.

In another report in the same journal, the same research team noted a slight difference between visual acuity in black and white children among the same children tested in the first study.

"About 1 percent of preschool children who could have vision tested were found to have decreased vision," Friedman said. "Half of these could benefit from wearing glasses."

The researchers found that the prevalence of decreased visual acuity was relatively low, affecting 1.2 percent of white children and 1.8 percent of black children. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant, the researchers noted.

The most common causes of decreased visual acuity were nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Only one child was legally blind.

Unidentified vision loss in preschool children is uncommon, Friedman said. "Increased efforts to identify children with vision loss at such a young age are probably not necessary," he said.

Block agrees vision problems among preschoolers are relatively rare, but parents should still have their children's eyes tested.

"The chances of vision problems in the preschool population are low, but they do exist," Block said. "The screenings are an important piece of the child's early evaluation and are usually done by a pediatrician as part of routine health care."

If a child appears to have a vision problem, he or she should be seen by a specialist, Block said. "Vision is an issue, and the best time to address it is early on, before it develops into true problems that cannot be corrected."

More information

For more on eye tests for children, visit Prevent Blindness America.



SOURCES: David S. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, ophthalmology and international health, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore; Sandra Block, O.D., professor, optometry, Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago; October 2008, Ophthalmology

Last Updated: Oct. 03, 2008

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