The National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has released a comprehensive new report titled "Children's Vision and Eye Health: A Snapshot of Current National Issues."
Vision impairments are common conditions among young children. If not detected and treated early, they could affect all aspects of life, negatively impacting a child's ability to learn, athletic performance, and self-esteem.
Data from the report includes:
- The economic costs of children's vision disorders are significant, amounting to $10 billion yearly in the United States.
- More than one in five preschool-age children enrolled in Head Start have a vision disorder.
- Visual functioning is a strong predictor of academic performance in school-age children.
- Amblyopia (sometimes called "lazy eye"), is the most common cause of vision loss in children.
- Uncorrected refractive errors (including significant near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism) in infants and preschool-age children are associated with developmental delay, as well as with clinically identified deficits in cognitive and visual-motor functions that may, in turn, have a negative impact on school readiness.
- Among children with diagnosed eye conditions, African American children have lower overall health care expenditures than Caucasian children, but twice the expenditures for eye/vision-related emergency services, possibly indicating less access to a regular source of office-based health care.
- More than a third of Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic black adolescents have inadequately corrected refractive error.
Also in the report are details on the impact of access to care issues, a summary of school vision screening rates and requirements by state, examples of effective state program approaches, and a state-by-state breakdown of regulations related to school-age and preschool-age vision screening.
The goal of the report is to provide information and examples that may translate into effective community-level health promotion strategies that lead to improved vision systems for children.