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Sunday, 5 October 2014

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Children with visual defects on the rise - Health Ministry

The number of children with visual defects is on the rise largely due to delayed detection and treatment , a Health Ministry official told the Sunday Observer. Senior Registrar Public Health of the Ministry of Health, Dr Kapila Piyasena said that most refractive errors in children were astigmatism and myopia as well as squints. "These defects are treatable with the correct

spectacles and minor surgery if necessary in the more serious cases", he said.

He said children's eyes develop up to 8-10 years . If these visual defects are not corrected before they reach this age, it would be too late to rectify them and their vision will be impaired for life", he warned.

He said the increasing use of computers and television had further aggravated vision related problems in children , although they did not cause impairments. " Children who watch a lot of T.V and frequently play computer games often suffer from headaches, photophobia ( fear of

bright lights) and nausea. " Parents must limit the times they watch T.V or play computer games to protect their children's eyes", he stressed.

He said the Health Ministry was carrying out yearly full body checksincluding eye screening for year 1,4 and 7 for several years and the

programmer was extended to Year 12 students as well under the supervision of the Medical Officer of Health in the respective areas.. "

This is an islandwide program. those children with eye defects will be directed to an eye specialist.

Needy children are given free spectacles which they can obtain from the MOH in their respective areas or from Vision 20-20 at the Ministry of Health", he said.

Preliminary results of a recent survey under Vision 20-20 has shown that 2.5% of all persons under 40 years in Sri Lanka have some form of visual impairment, of which 50% have Cataract , a reversible eye defect, requiring surgery, a health spokesman said..

World Sight Day is celebrated on October 9.

 

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