(Reuters Health) Middle- and lower-income children dont visit eye doctors as often as wealthier kids, and as a result, thousands of them may have undiagnosed sight-threatening conditions, U.S. researchers say.
All of the nearly 900,000 children in the study were covered by a national health insurer, but still, there were disparities in their access to eye care, researchers report in Health Affairs.
Experts advise that all children under age 5 be screened for two eye diseases, strabismus and amblyopia. In strabismus, the eyes are not aligned with each other, causing double vision. To get rid of the double vision, the brain will ignore sight from one of the eyes, which can lead to the development of amblyopia, or so-called lazy eye, in which vision from that eye is permanently reduced.
The earlier in life strabismus is detected and properly treated, the less likely the eye will become lazy and the more likely any vision loss that may have occurred can be reversed, said lead author Dr. Joshua Stein of the University of Michigan.
People need to know the importance of testing for these sight-threatening diseases in children, Stein added by email.
To determine the effect of wealth on eye care visits and diagnoses of these ...