HCN News & Notes

Bay Path Welcomes Optometrist to Discuss Early-childhood Vision Screening

LONGMEADOW — Dr. Kirsten Kerber, a pediatric optometrist at Boston’s Dimock Community Health Center, will visit Bay Path University to discuss childhood vision, early detection of vision disorders, and the connection between a child’s vision and learning outcomes, as well as the social, economic, and public-health implications of undetected vision problems.

The event is slated for Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Mills Theatre at Carr Hall, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow.

If left undetected and untreated, vision disorders can impact all aspects of a child’s physical, emotional, social, and behavioral development. Eighty percent of all learning occurs visually, putting the one in 10 preschoolers and one in four school-aged children who have a vision disorder at higher risk for encountering difficulties in early-learning settings.

A lifestyle of increased screen time, minimal outdoor time, and shortened school recess periods is resulting in more children being diagnosed with myopia (nearsightedness) at a much younger age than in the past, but only two states require comprehensive eye exams alongside immunizations for students entering school. Arming parents, teachers, students, and medical professionals with awareness and knowledge can inspire early intervention and spare children the frustrations and difficulties that often accompany undetected vision problems.