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Back-to-School Health: Are Your Child's Eyes Ready for the Classroom?
Date:7/24/2009

LOS ANGELES, July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Good vision can be directly correlated with a child's learning ability. As much as 80% of the learning a child does occurs through his eyes and approximately 1 in 4 school-age children have some type of vision impairment.

Does your child have normal, healthy vision needed for classroom learning, or is there a problem that requires treatment by a pediatric ophthalmologist, optometrist or pediatrician?

"Generally, the earlier we diagnose vision issues, the better the outcome for the child," said Dr. Mark Borchert, a pediatric ophthalmologist and the director of The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and associate professor of ophthalmology and neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. "Professional eye examination tests not only measure distance of vision, but also how accurately the eyes focus and how well the eye muscles are working," he said.

Below are four suggestions from The Vision Center for parents concerned about their child's eyesight.

1. Don't wait until your child enters kindergarten for his first complete eye exam. Pediatricians should perform a dilated eye exam to detect any serious eye problems within the first two months of life. Children are often more responsive to treatment when diagnosed early, so every child should have a comprehensive eye exam by age three. Some of the more serious eye diseases like amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eyes) are correctable with eye patches or surgery if caught early. Once a child is seven or eight years old, the opportunity to correct the problem may have been lost, resulting in permanent vision problems.

2. Children that avoid books or reading may have a vision problem. Generally, preschoolers are eager to look at books and try and figure out words. Most children are reading by fir
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SOURCE The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
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