Article Date: 9/1/2009

Getting Kids' Eyes Ready for School
Wise to the World

Getting Kids' Eyes Ready for School

By Judith Riddle, Senior Editor

Now's a great time to educate parents about the importance of pediatric eye health as their children head back to school. Millions of kids will start the school year with a vision impairment that may inhibit their ability to learn and affect the rest of their lives. Without a comprehensive eye exam, many children who have vision problems will goundiagnosed or may be misdiagnosed as having a learning disorder.

To begin, inform parents that their children should receive a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate eye-teaming skills, tracking skills, eye-hand coordination,as well as visual acuity and focusing. The exam will help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Side note: Tell parents their infants should receive a comprehensive eye exam before 2 months of age to detect amblyopia, strabismus and other serious conditions that are correctable only if treated early.

Can Anti-hypertensive Medications Raise Cataract Risk?

A recent study found that patients taking certain medications to lower blood pressure were at a higher risk for developing cataracts than those who didn't1.

Specifically, Australian researchers who tracked the eye health of more than 3,500 subjects for 5 to 10 years found that 61% of patients taking beta-blockers and 54% of patients taking ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure were at a higher risk for developing cataracts and having cataract surgery than those who didn't take the medications. Subjects taking beta-blockers for conditions other than hypertension were more than twice as likely to have cataract surgery.

According to the researchers, there's been much debate about the possibility that hypertension itself could be responsible for the development of cataracts, although the evidence to verify this has been inconsistent. Experimental research has shown that beta-blockers could havean effect on the transparency of the crystalline lens by modifying its proteins and altering its delicate cellular balance.


  1. Kanthan GL, Wang JJ, Rochtchina E, Mitchell P. Use of antihypertensive medications and topical beta-blockers and the long-term incidence of cataract and cataract surgery. Br J Ophthalmol. Published online first: 2009;doi:10.1136/bjo.2008.153379.

New Therapeutic CLs in the Works

Researchers have developed contact lenses that release a constant dose of medication for patients who must instill eye drops multiple times a day.1

Others have developed drug-releasing CLs, but none have achieved a steady release of substantial amounts of medication. In lab testing, the lenses dispensed the antibiotic ciprofloxacin for 30 days and up to 100 days. Animal testing is under way; human testing will follow.


  1. Ciolino JB, Hoare TR, Iwata NG, Behlau I, Dohlman CH, Langer R, Kohane DS. A drug-eluting contact lens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009;50:3346–3352.

Easier Way to Apply to Colleges

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) recently launched OptomCAS, an online service that enables optometry school applicants to apply to multiple schools and colleges at once.

Applicants submit a web-based application that includes biographical information, colleges and universities attended, academic course history and other info. The link to access the application is All 20 member optometry schools and colleges are participating.

For more information about Optom-CAS, contact Paige Pence, ASCO director of student and professional affairs at

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2009