Researchers at the University of Arizona Department of Ophthalmology have received a $1.7 million grant from the National Eye Institute to expand a study of vision problems on the reservation south of Tucson. The screening program began in 1997 to test and treat 4- to 5-year-olds on the reservation for astigmatism, a condition in which the shape of the cornea prevents clear vision at any distance. More than 800 children were tested. The new grant will allow grade school children, kindergarten through sixth grade, to be tested and treated. One in three Tohono O'odham children suffer from astigmatism, compared to one in 20 in the general U.S. population. If not corrected at an early age, astigmatism can lead to amblyopia, poor vision which cannot be treated successfully with corrective lenses. Children with the condition are fitted with glasses to correct the problem. Goal of the original four-year effort was to identify the best possible screening methods.
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