Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Worried by the increasing number of vision problems among children, an Optometrist, Dr. Edidiong Udom, and his research team have introduced a technology enabled device, “Gocheck Kids,” that can be used to do a compete check on the eyes of children.
The device, attached to a specified smart phone, was designed for use on children between the ages one and six. The device screens and detects eye defects in children and also makes suggestion on corrective measures before the child reaches seven years.
The optometrist said relevant government agencies have confirmed the efficacy of the technology and approved that campaign for its use be taken to schools, primary health care centers and other public places so that children’s eyes could be screened and protected from vision problems.
Udom, who spoke to journalists at a Care and Cuddles School in Abuja, said the target was to procure more devices and distribute them to primary health care centers across Nigeria, to enhance access to early eye screening test for children.
He explained that “Gocheck kids” visionaries are vision screening advocates that believe that early identification of potential risk factors play great role in protecting kids’ vision and potentials.
According to him, “it’s important to, periodically, screen the eyes of children against amblyopia, which is brain condition, before they reach the age of seven. It has been medically confirmed that if a child has poor vision in early age, the brain will be unable to see through the eyes properly, and that could greatly affect their intellectual capacity.
“If we wait till the age of seven to conduct a visual acuity test, then the amblyopia condition might had worsened. Amblyopia detection and treatment, ideally, take place before the age of seven. Catching risk factors as early as possible allows children to flourish.”
He said the team has carried out eye screening for over hundred children across different locations in Abuja and beyond, and surprisingly, a few risk factors were identified in the over 70 children that were screened between the ages of three and four years old in a particular school in Abuja.
The doctor said the result of the test could be made available instantly, but will still be subjected to further laboratory analysis to ascertain its accuracy.
“At the end, the outcome would be formally communicated to parents of the children. Necessary prescriptions would be added to the letter to the parents whose children tested positive to one form of eye defect or the other,” he said
He thus solicited the support of federal and state governments, corporate organizations and other individuals to support the procurement of the device for use at rural areas.