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Kids Under 5 Need Vision Tests

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DENVER, May 26, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said Wednesday all children under 5 should be screened in a primary care setting for vision problems.

Among problems the task force is concerned about are lazy eye, crossed eyes and near-and far-sightedness.

The task force, an independent panel of experts sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, found fair evidence that screening tests can lead to detection of lazy eye, crossed eyes and near- and far-sightedness.

Children found to have one of these conditions should be referred to a specialized eye care professional for further testing. Left untreated, lazy eye may lead to visual impairment and may harm a child's ability to learn or do well in school.

Visual impairment is a common condition that affects 5 percent to 10 percent of preschool age children, the task force said. Between 1 percent and 4 percent of preschool age children have amblyopia, and an estimated 5 percent to 7 percent have refractive errors.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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