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