In a child’s first years of life, not only his eyes, but also his brain learns to see.
“The development of the visual system is extremely age sensitive,” said James B. Ruben, M.D., FAAP, member of the AAP Section on Ophthalmology Executive Committee. “It is a bit like freshly poured concrete. It is moldable early in life, but as children age, their vision system (the brain) becomes set and cannot be changed.”
By age 14, a child’s visual and visual-motor systems are fully developed, making the reversal or correction of many vision problems nearly impossible. Thus, the early detection and correction of vision problems in young children is absolutely critical.
Serious vision problems include amblyopia, strabismus, cataracts and other treatable ocular diseases. Amblyopia affects between 1% and 4% of preschool-age children, and like other vision problems, is easily treated if diagnosed early.
Yet, fewer than one-third of pediatricians regularly provide...