The number of preschool children with visual impairments is expected to rise significantly by 2060, says a new study in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
Researchers from the University of Southern California analyzed data from two national population studies on the rates of children ages 3 to 5 who were diagnosed with visual impairments. Early vision problems also put students at greater risk of delays in cognitive and motor development.
As of 2015, the researchers found 174,000 young children had vision problems, with white Hispanic children making up the largest share, at 38 percent. In the next 45 years, researchers predict the number of young children with impaired vision will rise 26 percent, with the biggest increases in California, Florida, and Texas. White Hispanic children are expected to make up 44 percent of vision problems, while the rate for non-Hispanic white children is expected to drop by 21 percent during that time.
Because most vision problems in early childhood can be corrected, the authors said, “vision screening in preschool age and follow-up care will have a significant, prolonged effect on visual function and academic and social achievements and therefore should be recommended for all children.”
A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2017 edition of Education Week as Students With Disabilities