ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
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
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Maximize Your Run
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight 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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