Video Game Detects Vision Problems In Children

Vision problems in children

Vision and hearing screening programs are standard requirements administered in school-based preschool and K-12 schools as an undiagnosed issue with either can affect quality of learning. These programs are intended for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of children with hearing and vision problems.

A vision testing program must meet per state requirements and be provided under the direction of qualified personnel such as school nurses, licensed ophthalmologists, and optometrists.

Unlike the antiquated eye chart, which requires a highly trained professional to properly administer the test, a video game model called EyeSpy 20/20 does not. The video game automates the traditional eye chart and adds depth perception (stereopsis) assessments. The automation provides consistent results without the expense of engaging certified professionals.

Developed by VisionQuest 20/20, EyeSpy 20/20 promotes vision screening techniques and methods consistent with the US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology. The EyeSpy 20/20 software can be downloaded to any computer and costs an average of about $5 per student, cheaper in comparison to the traditional eye chart exams.

Childhood vision disorders are efficiently and effectively screened. These include amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (eye misalignment), cataracts, and focusing problems (nearsightedness, extreme farsightedness, and astigmatism).

The game provides simple instructions in English or Spanish. Symbol presentations are recorded in real-time based on the actual active response of the child. Answer responses are measured and evaluated to assess whether a child is having difficulty in either eye. The overall format of the game is engaging and retains the attention of the child, ensuring for testing reliability.

The exam takes about 10 minutes to complete, and results are compiled into reports, which can either be emailed or printed out for parents. So far, the application has been used on over 160,000 children.

The traditional eye chart (Snellen chart) was established in 1862, named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart. Charts display several rows of simple optotypes (test symbols), each row in a different size used to gauge a range of vision. Optotypes are standardized specially shaped letters, numbers, or geometric symbols. A highly trained eye care professional with a medical focus of the eyes (optometrist and ophthalmologist) executes the eye exam.

Optometrists and ophthalmologists screen for both health and degree of vision. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are trained to prescribe and fit lenses to improve vision, and to diagnose and treat various eye diseases. Testing visual acuity with an eye chart is a psychophysical measurement that attempts to determine a sensory threshold (psychometric function). Visual acuity (VA) is acuteness or clearness of vision, which is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain.

As part of the exam, a person is asked to identify the optotypes on the chart, usually starting with large row at the top E, and continuing to smaller rows until the optotypes cannot be reliably identified. The distance between the person’s eyes and the testing chart is set at a sufficient distance to approximate infinity in the way the lens attempts to focus. Twenty feet, or six meters, is essentially infinity from an optical perspective.

As many as one in four children live with an undiagnosed vision disorder which may be inhibiting their performance in school. Early screening, utilizing either method, is recommended.

[Image via Shutterstock]