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University of Iowa News Release

August 1, 2003

Vision Specialists Advise Families To Screen Children's Eyes

Eye care specialists at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are urging parents to screen their children for a disorder that can potentially cause permanent vision loss, as part of National Amblyopia Month.

Amblyopia, often called "lazy eye," is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. It is the most common vision problem in preschool-age children. As many as 7,800 Iowa children under age 4 have poor vision in at least one eye.

"When undetected or left untreated, amblyopia can result in permanent vision loss," said Ronald Keech, M.D., UI professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences. Keech also serves as service director of pediatric ophthalmology and the adult strabismus clinic.

Early detection of amblyopia is critical to your child's eyesight. It is as simple as having your child's picture taken. Local Lions Club volunteers are trained to use a special camera, called the MTI Photoscreener, which takes special Polaroid pictures of a child's eyes to detect vision problems. The MTI PhotoScreener is the only portable, commercially available instant camera in the world that screens children's vision in an effective, non-invasive way.

"The camera tests eyesight for six disorders that may lead to lazy eye," said Richard Olson, UI associate professor (clinical) of ophthalmology. "When we detect amblyopia in children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, we can prevent vision loss."

"Coming to Your Senses" is a vision-screening program that uses the MTI Photoscreener. Lions Clubs of Iowa and the UI Hospitals and Clinics, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences jointly sponsor the vision screenings throughout Iowa. William Scott, M.D., professor emeritus, serves as medical director of the program. The screening sessions are offered free of charge, thanks to the support and volunteer efforts of Iowa Lions.

For more information or to discuss scheduling a screening session, visit online at or contact the Coming To Your Senses program at 319-353-7616.

  • University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, Writer, 319-356-3945,