[AI] Teachers trained to spot children with defective vision
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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
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
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,
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 Snellens 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.
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
Children born before the full term of pregnancy
and weighing about 1 kg
could suffer from retinopathy of prematurity,
a disorder that affects
The condition causes bleeding in the eyes of the
babies and results in
detachment of the retina.
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