Eighty-five percent of children’s learning is related to vision. Yet in the U.S., 80 percent of children have never had an eye exam or any vision screening before kindergarten, statistics say. When they do, the vision screenings they typically receive can detect only one or two conditions.
Three researchers at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma are working to change that with an invention that makes children eye exams inexpensive, comprehensive, and simple to administer. “Eye exams can do so much more than just test vision,” said Ying-Ling Ann Chen, device inventor and research assistant professor in physics. “They can detect learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, or neural disorders such as autism. By not testing our youth, we are potentially missing the window for effective treatment for a lot of conditions.”
Called the Dynamic Ocular Evaluation System (DOES), the device was developed by Chen; Lei Shi, post-doctoral research associate in laser application; and Jim Lewis, professor emeritus in physics. The researchers hope the device will someday be used in pediatricians’ offices across the country, and then expanded to other groups within population.