ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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