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USC study -- largest of its kind -- finds older children more likely to develop vision disorders
Date:11/15/2007

Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 15In a study of more than 6,000 Los Angeles-area children the largest study of its kind researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) found that both strabismus (commonly known as cross-eyed or wall-eyed) and amblyopia (often referred to as lazy eye) were more prevalent in older children than in younger children. The study is currently available in the online edition of the journal Ophthalmology.

The population for this first phase of the Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS) was composed equally of African-American and Hispanic youngsters, ages six months to six years, who reside in the Los Angeles County community of Inglewood. The overall prevalence of strabismus was 2.5%; while this finding remained constant regardless of gender or ethnicity, prevalence trended upward with increasing age. The overall prevalence of amblyopia, which was 2.6% in both ethnic groups, similarly trended upward with age, although researchers concluded that this trending stabilizes by three years of age. As with strabismus, researchers found no difference when amblyopia results were stratified by gender.

This is the first evaluation of strabismus and amblyopia in these two ethnic groups, says principal investigator Rohit Varma, MD, professor of ophthalmology and preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, and director of the Ocular Epidemiology Center at USCs Doheny Eye Institute. What was most surprising about our findings, he adds, was that the vast majority of children who we diagnosed with either strabismus or amblyopia had been previously undiagnosed and hadnt received any care. Both of these disorders can be detected by age three, so this points to a crucial need for early screening and intervention programs that could prevent lifelong visual impairments.

According to Susan Cotter, OD, the studys co-principal investigator and a research professor of opht
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Contact: Meghan Lewit
lewit@usc.edu
323-442-3576
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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