How a Comprehensive Eye Exam Found A Brain Tumor And Saved An Eight-Year-Old Girl's Life

New Guideline Shows the Impact and Importance of Yearly Comprehensive Eye Examinations for Children



An eye exam turned out to be a lifesaver for one Atlanta girl last year, but the experience suggests the importance of yearly comprehensive eye examinations for all children. At the age of eight Ruby Mosqueda was experiencing excruciating headaches that perplexed her physicians.  When her mother, Maria Garcia, took Ruby to an optometrist for her regular comprehensive eye exam, they discovered the cause of her pain. The optometrist found a tumor the size of a golf ball that was pressing on a nerve in Ruby’s brain. The non-cancerous tumor was removed and Ruby has recovered.

Routine, standard screening tests are used to catch vision problems, but these tests sometimes miss those signs and symptoms. Additionally, simple screenings fail to catch a wide variety of other conditions that only a comprehensive eye exam can catch. These simple screenings are not enough – a child needs comprehensive eye exams. A comprehensive eye exam should be one of the most important “to-dos” as children head back to school, and yet it’s often overlooked. Without an eye exam, many children will suffer from undetected vision problems, and some may even be misdiagnosed as having a learning disorder, because they have trouble seeing in the classroom.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recently released a newly revised evidence-based guideline (called Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline: Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination) for pediatric eye health. One of the most notable updates is that children ages 6 to 18 years should receive an annual comprehensive eye exam before first grade and annually thereafter. The comprehensive eye exam guideline shifted from a two to one-year frequency recommendation due to the increased prevalence of eye and vision disorders and further understanding of the significant impact eye health has on children.

Some of the other recommendations in line with the new guideline include:

  • Children with existing vision conditions require a prompt comprehensive eye examination
  • Children who experience a concussion should visit their optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam in addition to an appointment with their health care provider
  • Ocular trauma such as corneal scars and hemorrhages are often linked to abuse and neglect, so a comprehensive eye exam plays a key role in identifying signs of abuse

As much as 80% of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes, according to the AOA. Reading, writing, using computers and playing are among the visual tasks children perform daily, so if children’s eyes are not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer. On August 2, 2017, Dr. Andrea Thau, O.D., president of the AOA and Ruby Mosqueda’s mother, Maria Garcia, will be available to discuss the importance of annual eye exams for children. Our guests will also outline the latest updates to the guideline recommended by the AOA.

 Interview is courtesy: American Optometric Association (AOA)-Nonprofit Organization