Monday, December 29, 2008
Medical Reports: Eye Spy
Millions of children don't get an annual eye exam, but doctors now have a new eye test that makes screening not only easy but fun for kids. Seven's Richard Lemus puts the Eye Spy to the test.
WSVN -- It's not your typical eye exam. Instead it's a video game designed to check kids' eyes. Eight-year-old Sasha just thinks it's fun.
Sasha: "It asks you questions, and you're supposed to answer them, and if there's a letter on the top, you have to match the letter on the bottom."
With every correct match, the adventure continues each step. The Eye Spy treasure hunt is actually part of a vision test, which changes depending on the child's age. Children wear glasses with red and blue lenses while playing the game. The different colored lenses ensure each eye is screened individually.
James W. O'Neil: "By measuring response time in the right eye versus the left eye, it gives us information as to whether one eye is under-performing or not."
Pediatric ophthalmologist Jim O'Neil says many kids with vision problems can still pass a conventional eye test. He believes this game can make vision screenings more effective.
James W. O'Neil: "We want to make them more reliable. We want to make them easier to administer. We want to reach more children."
The test screens for everything from visual sharpness and basic vision problems to lazy eye, retinal disorders and even cataracts. Because it's automated, researchers believe this new test is more accurate and cost-effective than standard vision tests.
In a pilot project screening kids at this elementary school, school nurse Lucy Samuels has seen some real success stories.
Lucy Samuels: "The one that I was most impressed about, he looked up in the sky and he said, 'There's an airplane, and I have never seen an airplane.' It was so exciting when he got his glasses on."
And better vision means a brighter future for these students.
Richard Lemus: "Doctors believe the computer game test would cost about $5 per child. A non-profit organization called Vision Quest 20-20 hopes to distribute the eye-screening game to schools Nationwide."
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