ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer 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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