[AI] Teachers trained to spot children with defective vision

rambabu adikesavalu rambabu_arb at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 8 18:10:39 EDT 2007

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
      Wednesday, Jul 04, 2007

Teachers trained to spot children with defective
      R. Sujatha 
            The younger the children the easier it is
to cure them, says doctor 

      Chennai: REEP - Refractive Errors, Education and
Prevention - is a project 
      aimed at children in Corporation schools in the
city. In the two years 
      since its launch, Rajan Eye Care Hospital in T.
Nagar has reached out to 
      about 107 schools by conducting free screening
      A total of 43,900 children below the age of 12
have been screened for eye 
      ailments and given spectacles.
      “We chose schoolchildren because it is necessary
to identify children with 
      defects in the eye. The younger the children the
easier it is to cure 
      them,” says Mohan Rajan, Medical Director of the
      “A study in 1990 showed that the incidence of
short sight (myopia) was 6.2 
      per cent and long sight (hypermetropia) was 4.6
per cent. 
      In 2005 the incidence was 7.4 per cent and 5.3
per cent. In 2015, it will 
      be 10 per cent and 8 per cent.”
      Both conditions are hereditary and can manifest
as early as at the age of 
      Some children suffer from amblyopia in which the
child could have double 
      vision. It is necessary to diagnose early as the
child could suffer from 
      ‘lazy eye’ syndrome, Dr. Mohan says. When a
child develops a squint it 
      could be because the vision in one eye is normal
while the brain does not 
      register images from the other eye. 
      “These days children go to pre-nursery at the
age of two-and-a-half. So we 
      brought down the age of screening from five to
two-and-a-half or three,” 
      he says. 
      In order to spot children with defective vision
early, the hospital has 
      trained teachers in Corporation schools to
identify children with squints 
      and check their vision using the Snellen’s chart
for schoolchildren who 
      can read and a symbols chart for the younger age
group. Children who 
      cannot identify the penultimate line in the
chart need therapy. 
      Children with lazy eye syndrome are given
occlusion therapy. The vision in 
      the good eye is blocked making the child to see
with the other eye. This 
      therapy will not work in children beyond the age
of 10. If picked up early 
      vision could be restored up to 80 per cent from
merely 30 per cent, Dr. 
      Mohan says. 
      Parents, teachers and children are counselled
and taught about refractive 
      This education is important as the higher the
myopia greater are the 
      chances of retinal detachment. 
      The hospital has tied up with several paediatric
hospitals to screen 
      preterm babies. 
      Children born before the full term of pregnancy
and weighing about 1 kg 
      could suffer from ‘retinopathy of prematurity’,
a disorder that affects 
      the retina.
      The condition causes bleeding in the eyes of the
babies and results in 
      detachment of the retina. 

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