In a bid to address vision issues among children in Nigeria, an Optometrist and the Executive Director, Vecad Clinic Ltd, Abuja, Dr. Edidiong Udom, and his research team have introduced a pediatric photo-screening mobile health app “Gocheck Kids,” that can be used to conduct a comprehensive eye check on children in a faster and Cost-effective manner.
The teamed carried out a free eye screening for 70 children between the ages of three and four at Care and Cuddles School in Abuja.Speaking after the screening, Udom noted that it is is important to regularly, screen the eyes of children against amblyopia, which is brain condition, before they attain the age of seven adding that after this age, the problem might be difficult to correct even with a surgery.
He said, “We can’t 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. 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.”
Udom who attributed the high incidence of vision problems in children to developmental factors explained that over 70 children between the ages of 3and four years were screened with few risk factors identified. He noted that the technology has been confirmed effective and campaigned for its use in schools, primary health care centers and other public places.
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.
Also speaking, African Representative for Go Check Kids, Bayo Akintoye, said the kits were being text-run while the results will still be taken to the clinic for validation.
According to him, the outcome of the screening would be communicated to parents of the children with prescriptions attached to the letter to the parents whose children tested positive to one form of eye defect.He noted that the group is liaising with the Federal Ministry of Health to see how the devices can be deployed to Primary Healthcare Centres across the country adding that the plan is to screen about one million kids in five years.
About 1.5 million children currently live with blindness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).Early detection of vision problems is a key to the prevention of vision loss and blindness.
Gocheck Kids is an iPhone app registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to screen the one in four children under six years old that have correctable vision impairment, including amblyopia. GoCheck Kids makes early screening affordable, reducing the cost.