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New Evidence-Based Research Shows that Universal Comprehensive Eye Exams Would Help More Children Succeed in School
Date:8/12/2009

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though universal comprehensive eye exams for children prior to starting school would result in more children being diagnosed and successfully treated for vision problems and eye diseases, requirements vary widely from state to state and only three states require eye examinations for school-age children, according to a new report from the National Commission on Vision and Health.

The report, "Building a Comprehensive Child Vision Care System," found that children are being screened at low rates and those who are screened do not often receive the necessary follow-up and treatment they may require. Children without health insurance and those living in poverty are at the greatest risk. Although the majority of states do require some type of vision screening prior to children entering public schools, they often fail to use the best screening tests and to assure important follow-up for those who fail the screening. Only three states, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri, require comprehensive eye exams for children entering school. Currently fifteen states do not require any form of screenings or exams, resulting in a public health emergency for millions of children.

"Children from low-income families lack the health care resources necessary to break the cycle of poverty," said David Rosenstein, DMS, MPH, Oregon Health & Science University professor emeritus. "This lack of vision care is handicapping our most vulnerable populations. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 83 percent of families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level have children who have not seen an eye care provider during the prior year. This must change now for the sake of our children."

According to doctors, early detection and treatment are essential in treating eye diseases and disorders in children and can lead
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SOURCE National Commission on Vision and Health
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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