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Thursday / June 13.
HomeminewsKids’ Eye Problems

Kids’ Eye Problems

Eye problems in Australian children are becoming as common as asthma and allergies, according to a report by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare.

The report says 411,000 children are known to have long-term eye disorders, but the true number is likely to be much more because some children are not being diagnosed and treated. In particular, there was likely to be a big underestimation of rates of astigmatism.

“Most of these children have either long or shortsightedness,” said Robert Long of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Population Health Unit.

“About one in six 10-14 year olds wear glasses or contact lenses to correct sight.

There are also about 420,000 GP visits each year that deal with children’s eye problems, with most of these (62 per cent) being conjunctivitis infections,” Mr. Long said.

In 2006-07 about 600,000 eye-related Medicare services were provided to children. The vast majority of these were for optometry services such as eye exams and prescribing glasses.

Nationally, about 9,000 children were hospitalised in 2006-07 with eye diseases and disorders.

“Overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had a similar rate of eye hospitalisations to other Australian children, but within that figure, hospitalisations for infections and eye-related injuries were more common among Indigenous children,” he said.