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Study: More Than Half Of Childhood Illness Could Have Been Prevented

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A new study published by the American Academy of Opthalmology in October, 2022 has found that more than half of children who lose their sight in the United States could have retained it with early detection and treatment of their condition. These and similar findings are the reason our eye doctors encourage parents to bring their children in for an eye exam every year.

Researching Childhood Blindness

For this study, researchers used the IRIS Registry, the nation’s first and largest comprehensive eye disease registry, to research leading causes of blindness in children across the United States. They studied kids from infancy to 18 years old with visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in their better-seeing eye, even when wearing glasses or contacts.

What the researchers found was that the top causes appear to be retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), nystagmus and cataracts.

ROP caused about 31% of blindness in the studied group of children, just over 8% was due to nystagmus, and nearly 7% stemmed from cataracts.

Most of the issues stemmed from problems in the retina, which were almost half of all cases, the optic nerve made up about 12% and the lens was about 10%.

All of these conditions are diagnosable as part of a routine eye exam and largely treatable if caught early on.

This means that around 52% of children that lost their sight could have kept it with proper and timely treatment.

Pediatric Eye Exams in Norfolk

Children’s eye exams at Southern Eyecare Associates are designed to catch the kinds of eye diseases that this study pin points as a threat to your child’s eye health and vision.

To learn more about children’s eye care and how timely treatment can help maintain their long-term eye health, contact our Norfolk eye doctors at Southern Eyecare Associates, or give us a call at 757-588-5423 today.


Are cataracts common in children?

Fortunately, cataracts are quite uncommon in children. If a child has cataracts, it is treated similarly to how adult cataracts are treated. Surgery can be performed to remove the clouded lens. The child would need to wear corrective contacts or glasses afterward.

What causes retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

ROP occurs when the blood vessels in the retina do not develop properly in premature infants, leading to abnormal growth and scarring. Among the leading factors that can increase a baby’s risk of developing this condition are premature birth, low birth weight, anemia, and infection.