By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With the new year upon us, it’s a good time to take a health check for your family. Have you had your children’s vision checked lately?

Dr. Todd Wolynn, CEO of Kids Plus Pediatrics, explains why it’s important, when you should have it done and how it’s improved with the help of technology. Here’s his edited conversation with KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen.

Kristine Sorensen: Vision care is important because it can have long term impacts, right?

Dr. Todd Wolynn: Absolutely. If not picked up, a vision disorder in childhood can cause permanent disability. Actually, vision problems are the number one cause of disability in children.

Kristine Sorensen: What should parents do?

Dr. Todd Wolynn: Do your regular checks with your pediatrician. We used to not be able to do vision checks until close to age 4, but now have a phone-based application where we can screen kids down to age 1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends annual photo screening between the ages of one and three.

Kristine Sorensen: Why is it important to do it as young as possible?

Dr. Todd Wolynn: You want to pick up an eye disorder as early as possible to get treatment early. Sometimes parents may have concern about eye strain, sometimes they call it “lazy eye.” If that can get detected and diagnosed early, if it is a true vision impairment, the ophthalmologist can take care of that early and help avoid things like surgery down the road.

Kristine Sorensen: And even possibly blindness?

Dr. Todd Wolynn: Yes, amblyopia is one of the leading causes for childhood blindness.

Kristine Sorensen: If your pediatrician doesn’t have that app, because it’s so new, what should you do?

Dr. Todd Wolynn: If your pediatrician or family practice doctor doesn’t have it but you have concerns, bring it up to them. If they’re unsure of what’s going on, they’ll then refer you over to the pediatric ophthalmologist.

Kristine Sorensen: I’ve worn glasses since I was about 10 years old, so I’m very aware of how important it is. Thank you so much for the advice.

Kristine Sorensen