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Kids need vision testing early -- you'd be surprised how many of them are having problems with seeing

(Image is Clickable Link) DAVID F. ASHTON - Visiting the OHSU Elks Childrens Eye Clinics See to Read Summerfest at Oaks Park were Brentwood Darlington neighborhood residents Andrea Emerson, holding baby Nathan, and Zeke, held by dad Ben. (Click on this picture for more information on the vision screening process.)It's urgent for children ages 3 to 7 to have a vision screening – to discover and perhaps to cure sight problems. That was the message behind the OHSU Elks Children's Eye Clinic's "See to Read Summerfest" clinic held in Sellwood on Saturday, June 17.

The morning included free vision screenings, Oaks Amusement Park ride wristbands for kids who were screened, hotdog lunches, crafts, balloons, clowns, and face painting.

"Since this program started in 2003, we've screened more than 25,000 children, and determined that about 15% of all children do have vision problems," commented Elks Children's Eye Clinic Preschool Children's Screening Program Director Joannah Vaughan. "The best time to treat children for eye disease is between ages 3 and 5; and some eye diseases, such as amblyopia ('lazy eye'), can be reversed if detected before age 5."

In a darkened room inside the Oaks Dance Pavilion, children found the exam process to be quick and easy – taking just a couple of seconds. Screeners use a hand-held photo eye screening device, similar to a digital camera, which screens both eyes at once from a non-threatening three-foot distance.

If the exam detects potential vision problems, the screener suggests that the child's parents visit a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam.

"Also, some children's vision needs to be treated by wearing glasses, and thanks to Miraflex® frames, these glasses are almost indestructible," Vaughan smiled.

Brentwood-Darlington resident Andrea Emerson and her husband came for an exam of 3½-year-old Zeke, who – after his early vision screening – is now wearing glasses.

"When they recommended glasses for Zeke, it made us a little nervous at first, because he was so little when he got them," Emerson told THE BEE. "But we love that they caught eye issues early enough that he won't have trouble seeing for the rest of his life; we're really grateful for that."

To find out more about this early vision screening program, go online to this website:

tinyurl.com/ycp6yhek

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