The World Council of Optometry called on world governments to “redouble their commitment to eye care and make eye health services accessible to all” over the next 10 years.
Dr. Scott Mundle of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada was appointed as president of the World Council of Optometry at its recent Second World Congress of Optometry. One of his mandates is children’s vision.
“Children are the future and it is incumbent for us to help them in any way we can,” he said. “As far as vision goes, we know that good vision is paramount for a good education and a productive work and social life. It is for this reason I have made children’s vision a central focus of my presidency.”
The World Health Organization estimates 12 million children younger than age 15 are visually impaired due to uncorrected refractive errors and amblyopia. Here are some of the most common eye health issues among children in the U.S., as reported by Prevent Blindness:
- 3% of children under 18 are blind or visually impaired.
- 2% of kids under age five have amblyopia. Early detection is critical because treatment started after age seven is less effective.
- 2-4% of kids under age six have strabismus.
- 4% of children under five and 9% of kids ages 5-17 are myopes.
- 21% of children under five and 13% between 5-17 are hyperopes.
- 15-28% of children under age 17 are astigmats.
Undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with a child’s ability to learn in school and participate in sports. The earlier a vision problem is diagnosed and treated, the less it will impact an individual’s quality of life.
Vision screening is an efficient and cost-effective method to identify children with visual impairment or eye conditions so that a referral can be made to an appropriate eye care professional for further evaluation and treatment.