Vision screening for kids should be made national: ophthalmologists

The NSW Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening (StEPS) program, which started in 2008 to screen four-year-olds at pre-schools, child care and other children’s services, has shown that those who screening showed required further assessment were referred to their GP or “an eye-health professional” for further routine (5.9%) or priority (2.2%) vision assessment, with many children eventually receiving treatment for refractive error, amblyopia and other vision disorders, according to AMA Insight, published by the Australian Medical Association.Professor Frank Martin, clinical professor of paediatric and child health and ophthalmology at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in western Sydney, said it was crucial to test children’s eyesight before the age of four years.”At that age the visual syst is still plastic enough to be manipulated to develop normal vision”, Professor Martin said.”If probls are not found until later, there may be improvents but the child will never end up with normal vision.”

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