Eye Health Group Backs Kids' Sight-Saving Bills

SUNDAY Aug. 5, 2007 -- Many children's vision problems can be treated successfully if they're detected early, says Prevent Blindness America.

The vision health organization has declared August Children's Eye Health and Safety Month as part of its effort to educate the public about the importance of quality eye care for children.

About two out of three children in the United States don't receive critical eye services before the age of 6, and that increases their risk of suffering vision loss, according to Prevent Blindness America.

If children don't receive a certified vision screening or eye exam, serious vision problems may go undetected. Children should have their vision checked at infancy, 6 months, 3 years, and 5 years, with follow-ups as needed, recommends Prevent Blindness America.

Vision plays an important role in learning, and eye disorders can have a serious impact on a child's school performance.

In an effort to improve access to proper eye care, Prevent Blindness America and other vision health groups developed the "Vision Care for Kids Act of 2007," which would provide funding for eye exams and follow-up care for qualified children. Bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives earlier this year, and Prevent Blindness America and its partners hope the legislation will be passed within the next few weeks.

"We already know that one in 20 preschool children have a vision problem. What we need to do now is to develop programs to provide children in need with the professional eye care they deserve," Daniel D. Garrett, senior vice president of Prevent Blindness America, said in a prepared statement. "We ask everyone to contact their representative and urge their support for vision services."

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children's vision.

Posted: August 2007


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