Why it matters. Myopia, amblyopia… 44% of children have at least one vision disorder

Why it matters.  Myopia, amblyopia… 44% of children have at least one vision disorder

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Children under 12 do not see well. Nearly half of them (44%) have at least one vision disorder, reveals the Visual Health Barometer produced by Opinionway for the National Association for the Improvement of Vision (Asnav), published Wednesday. In detail, 21% of them suffer from myopia, 15% from astigmatism, 11% from hyperopia, 11% from strabismus and 3% from amblyopia.

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On average, the disorder was detected at the age of five. But for 49% of them, the disorder was detected after the age of six. This disorder was only detected during a spontaneous check by the ophthalmologist in 17% of cases. “As seeing poorly does not hurt, unlike teeth, children do not complain and there are few signals that could alert parents,” regrets Asnav in its press release.

Gaps in prevention

The barometer thus reveals a defect in the prevention of these vision disorders. Only 19% of French people consider it useful to make a first visit to the speech therapist before their child is three years old. The Ministry of Health, however, emphasizes that “screening for visual disorders, from the first months of life, can make it possible to identify very early situations at risk of amblyopia, the most common cause of poor unilateral vision in children” . “These screenings are important in early childhood because they will have an impact on the child’s entire life. Amblyopia must be detected before six years of age so that it is then reversible,” confirms Catherine Jégat, general delegate of AsnaV.

The first visit to the ophthalmologist is increasingly carried out on the advice of a pediatrician or a health professional (31%), an optician (11%) or the school (29%). The proportion of parents who have taken their child to the ophthalmologist simply to have a routine check-up has continued to decrease over the last ten years: it is now 39%, compared to 55% in 2013.

“The initial prevention process is no longer the responsibility of parents. Different factors can explain this: there are delays in obtaining an appointment, the health crisis which has demobilized quite a few parents…,” analyzes Catherine Jégat.

An information campaign called for

The vast majority of parents consider themselves poorly informed about myopia and the means to curb it. Asnav recommends that an institutional information campaign be set up in order to “fight effectively against the development of this epidemic”. 83% of parents also believe that information on the increase in myopia could encourage them to have their child’s vision checked.

“There is a campaign that works well and is accompanied by support: the M’T dents campaign which really takes parents to the dentist to have a check-up. If we could do the same thing for the view, it would be ideal,” believes Catherine Jégat. His association advocates at least for an “incentive” on the model of eating five fruits and vegetables per day. “The public authorities must take stock of the problem. Visual problems are invisible problems, we correct this with glasses, but behind there are other problems that can set in,” insists Catherine Jégat.

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