Since August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month and a new school year is about to begin, make sure to include an eye examination as part of your back to school check list. It is estimated that 80% of classroom education is taught visually. That fits well in addition to immunizations and school orientations. The inability to see clearly affects not only academic performance but also athletics and self-esteem. Therefore, start the new school year out right by making sure that your child/children are seeing clearly!
Common signs of vision troubles in children: frequently rubbing eyes, squinting, tilting or turning the head to look at objects, wandering eyes, or squeezing eyes. A good rule of thumb is to have your children’s eyes examined during well-child visits, beginning around age three. Your child’s eye doctor can help detect refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as the following diseases:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)
- Color deficiency (color blindness)
If you or your doctor suspect that your child may have a vision problem, you can make an appointment with your local ophthalmologist (eye specialist) for further testing. There are some specific warning signs that may indicate that your child has a vision problem. Some of these include:
- A family history of childhood vision problems
- Lack of interest in reading or viewing distant objects
- Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television
Many of these conditions, if diagnosed early, can be treated and vision can be restored. If the condition is not diagnosed until later in life, treatment may not be as effective.
Good vision is key to a child’s physical development, school success and well-being. By scheduling a comprehensive eye exam for your children in August, you can get them on the right track for a happy and healthy school year.
Basic Rules of Eye Safety: Eye safety is just as important as eye health. Every year thousands of children sustain an eye injury, 90 percent of which can be prevented if suitable protective eye wear is used. Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. From sports and recreation, to toys and fireworks, an eye injury can happen at any time.
Help prevent your children from being one of the more than 12 million children who suffer from vision impairment by remembering these basic rules of safety:
- All children should wear protective eye wear while participating in sports or recreational activities
- Purchase age-appropriate toys for your children and avoid toys with sharp or protruding parts. Always purchase toys that meet the safety standards of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Help your children have a successful school year by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam and taking safety measures to ensure their eyes are free from injury. We all want our children to be happy and healthy, and we want to protect them from harm. We can best achieve this goal by getting our children yearly wellness check-ups and eye examinations before school starts, as well as by providing safe toys, environments, and always having adult supervision.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!