Researchers Study Impact of Children’s Eyeglass Wear on Their Development

For parents, managing their toddlers’ eyeglass wear-time can be a grueling task. Astigmatism in kids, especially toddlers and infants occur at moderately high instances but usually reduces as the child grows. Erin M. Harvey, associate professor of ophthalmology and public health, and co-principal investigator, points out that “children who are nearsighted can see fine up close, and children who are farsighted can see well at a distance, but for children with astigmatism, everything is blurry.”

“The critical questions, then, are if eyeglasses are prescribed for astigmatism in this age range, will children wear them, and will they produce a measurable impact on vision and language, cognitive and motor development?” Harvey said.

Harvey came up with the idea to put a heat-sensitive sensor on the eyeglass straps to measure when the glasses are being worn by the children three years or younger. For the study, researchers will divide children with astigmatism, ages 12-35 months, into two groups. As part of the study, a team of local pediatricians from El Rio Health and Banner University clinics will prescribe eyeglasses and provide traditional support to the first group. They will also prescribe glasses to the second group, but with the addition of clinical support that encourages the children to wear the glasses.

When the children turn three years old, the researchers will test their vision and measure their language, cognitive and motor development using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development. By analyzing those results with wear-time data, Harvey and co-investigator Joseph Miller will be able to determine if the additional clinical support made a difference in how often the children wore their eyeglasses, and if more wear time had significant effects on their vision, language, cognitive and motor development. The results will help parents understand the impact that wearing glasses will have on the development of their young astigmatic children.

https://phys.org/wire-news/331958489/ua-study-looks-to-measure-benefits-of-eyeglasses-for-toddlers.html

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