FOCUS ON CHILDREN

Children everywhere are much the same: innocent, beautiful, playful, accepting life as it is.We must remember, however, that even in developed countries like the USA, pockets of poverty exist, and access to high quality early eye health care may not be available.

Having engaged in many missions for screening of children through the Ophthalmological Foundation of the Philippines (OFPHIL), which RSI helps to support, we are also engaged in the United States and plan to expand such programs as the Educational Seminars for Nurses in the Elementary School System. These dedicated nurses need additional training and education on how to recognize children in need of referral to eye professionals, and when it is urgent to do so. They also need to know about “First Aid” for youngsters who may present an acute injury, such as a blow to the eye, a foreign body, or a chemical burn.

children-focusThe photo shown here happens to show young Ifugao Province natives, but we could just as well depict an American child of similar age, or from any race or culture. Like these particular Filipino kids, your own offspring or grandchildren, etc. or those of a friend, might appear to have normally developing eyes and vision. But without being checked early enough in life they may be afflicted by a blinding, painless, condition called “amblyopia” which can lead to permanent loss of good vision in one eye. All children should have a pre-school-age checkup including screening for this condition which is very successfully treated in the majority of cases, as long as it is done early in life. After age 8, plus or minus a year or so, hope for a good result fades, and after age 10 it may be irremediable. Be alert for your own relatives and help us to find and treat these conditions among the poor.

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