New types of screening could help detect vision problems in younger children

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Physicians can reliably diagnose vision problems in older children by using an eye chart. But it's much more difficult to do for kids under the age of three, or an older child who cannot communicate what they are seeing on the chart.

A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics says automated vision screenings is a new tool that can help. The AAP statement suggests using instrument-based vision screening, either photo screening or handheld auto refraction, on children ages six months to three years. They say the screenings can also allow for the detection of conditions like "lazy eye" or other vision problems. But, the elective procedures can be expensive.

"The more parents understand about their child's physical development and visual development- the better. They can have that conversation with their pediatrician. But also, if this technology filters into the offices, certainly the doctors will offer it and try to explain to parents the importance of using this technology very early," says Dr. Paul Rychwalski of the Cleveland Clinic.

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