Keeping an Eye on Children

The campaign to promote the culture of visual prevention in children involved Bologna schools in April.
Federico Bartolomei

The campaign Keeping an Eye on Children, organized and promoted by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB Italia onlus), has come to Bologna thanks to the collaboration between the local branch of the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted and the Istituto Cavazza. The purpose of the project, which was held in April, was to promote the culture of vision prevention in children through vision checks and the dissemination of information materials within participating schools. Children between the ages of 3 and 11 were examined by a team of ophthalmologists and orthoptists who went directly into the schools. 

Poster of the initiative "Keeping an Eye on Children"

Doing pediatric prevention is important because children are not always able to notice and report the presence of a vision problem on their own. In older children, an uncorrected refractive defect, such as hypermetropia, could cause difficulties in concentration and learning, possibly affecting school performance in younger children. It could also lead to the onset of amblyopia, or reduced development of visual function in one or both eyes. 

Group of children in the classroom

This can occur because of a visual defect present in early childhood, a period during which the development and maturation of the visual system is accomplished, and if not treated promptly, this condition can result in a permanent defect. The most common causes of amblyopia are strabismus and refractive errors such as untreated hyperopia, astigmatism, and myopia. The risk of developing amblyopia, due to an untreated eye condition, is present in the first 4-5 years of life, that is when plastic changes occur within the developing visual system. The diagnosis must therefore take place as early as possible or in the period in which the visual system is still susceptible to modifications and enhancements if treated properly. According to statistics, amblyopia affects from 1.6% to 3.6% of the population. Since amblyopia is curable only at an early age, early detection and timely treatment are key. The topic of visual prevention and rehabilitation in children has always been part of the mission of the Cavazza Institute, which every year organizes the AMGO (a me gli occhi) Conference, a travelling educational event of national scope, aimed at experts in the field and which in September 2023 will be held in Cagliari.


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