NIH Report: Uncorrected farsightedness linked to literacy deficits in preschoolers

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A NEW study released by the National Institutes of Health this morning indicates a strong correlation between childhood hyperopia and poor reading skills. As someone who used to work in eye care and as someone who has dealt with mild hyperopia (far-sightedness) from childhood, I want to urge all parents to make sure their children receive early eye exams. Not only can the eye doctor determine whether or not your child has a corneal imperfection leading to myopia, hyperopia, and/or astigmatism, but there are multiple other and even systemic health problems that can be determined through an eye exam. Don’t wait for the school to notify you that your child might have trouble seeing—take that precious gift to your local optometrist or ophthalmologist by age 3 unless you notice visual abnormalities earlier.

A study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, has shown that uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia) in preschool children is associated with significantly worse performance on a test of early literacy.The results of the Vision in Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers (VIP-HIP) study, which compared 4- and 5-year-old children with uncorrected hyperopia to children with normal vision, found that children with moderate hyperopia (3 to 6 diopters) did significantly worse on the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) than their normal-vision peers. A diopter is the lens power needed to correct vision to normal. The higher the diopter, the worse the hyperopia.

Source: Uncorrected farsightedness linked to literacy deficits in preschoolers | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

X-Files is Back!

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Mulder and Scully are back together. (Image Credit: Fox Television)

WELL, we watched the opening episode to the X-Files reboot last night (well, most of it – since we had set it to record on our DVR, and the end of the football game bled into about 20 minutes of the program). Overall, it was nice to see Mulder and Scully back solving mysteries, but the reset to almost square one for those who’d never seen the series before was more than annoying. Walter Skinner looked great (does that actor never age?), and I’m wondering why the old X-Files office was being painted blue just as Mulder’s standing in it–and where did that pristine poster come from on the floor (I Want to Believe)? Didn’t that burn up in the fire?

My biggest beef though is that DNA profile that Scully glanced at and sent back for a re-test. A whole genome sequence is currently VERY expensive and is delivered as a large computer file. We’re talking about 3 billion base pairs. Oh, but her hospital squeezed it all onto one blank sheet of paper. Sheesh. The reference to ‘element 115’ was a nice nod to Bob Lazar, who claimed to have worked at Area 51 and said the ships used that element (which was only theoretical at the time) for propulsion. Since then, element 115 has been discovered and apparently couldn’t propel a washing machine. Derek watched the second episode last night and said it was much better. And Darin Morgan wrote at least one of the upcoming episodes (Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster, a title reminiscent of old Abbott and Costello films).  That will be a lot of fun.