06 Nov Innovative device detects vision disorders in young children
As a new mother you want to do everything to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your baby. This includes taking your baby for their immunisations, checking for weight gain and reaching the necessary milestones.
Screening for visual disorders should also form part of routine check-ups. Visual development is often overlooked because it is difficult to effectively screen a child’s eyes, until now.
One in every five 4-year-olds has an undetected visual disorder, such as Amblyopia otherwise known as a lazy eye, which if left untreated can lead to permanent visual impairment. Screening within the first year is crucial so that treatment can happen with the first 3 years whilst the visual system is still developing.
We receive 80% of all information through our eyes and new-borns need good sight, just as much as the ability to walk and talk. Every day we witness our children grow as they take their first steps and say their first words, but what they see remains unknown.
A visual disorder compromises social and scholastic achievement.
Children are incapable of noticing their own visual disorder. They are accustomed to seeing the world with their own eyes and lack the ability to verbalise any difficulties they may be having.
The act of seeing consists of two processes. Firstly, the acquisition through the eyes then secondly, image processing in the brain. New-borns must practice the interplay of eyes and brain so that the connections between the eyes, the visual cortex, and the eye-motor system required for sight, can develop.
The first years are the most important for this connection to allow for healthy binocular vision. If the eyes and brain are not trained correctly the child will never achieve his or her full visual faculty.
This visual impairment is known as Amblyopia (lazy eye).
Early screening is therefore vital in being able to treat, and in some cases reverse, conditions which could lead to serious visual impairment and even blindness later in life. Where there is a family history of eye disorders, the first measurement should be done earlier i.e. between 6 and 8 months. Annual screening when your child goes for their checkup and immunisations is recommended. Eyes change rapidly with growth and new visual disorders may occur at any time.
plusoptiX is an easy-to-use, non-invasive, accurate screening solution that is used to assess visual disorders in children as young as 6 months. The test takes just a few seconds and has been proven to achieve a sensitivity and specificity of 89%. The result is given as a simple pass or fail with a fail result indicating that a comprehensive eye examination by a paediatric ophthalmologist may be necessary.
Screening using the plusoptiX device is available at selected paediatricians and baby clinics. For more information or to find your nearest plusoptiX partner please contact plusoptiX on 081 777 4447, or go to www.plusoptix.co.za.