August is National Child Eye Health and Safety Month
August is here and school is just around the corner. It’s time to shop for those supplies and get back to the old routine. Although summer is coming to an end, the UV Rays are still very strong and it is important to make sureyou and your child take the proper precautions to ensure an A+ in eye health and safety.
Did you know that one in three children under age 6 have never had an eye examination, yet according to the Center of Disease Control, 12.1 million have vision problems? There are many factors to consider when it comes to healthy vision, and it is vital to keep your child (and yourself) protected.
It’s still summertime and the UV Rays are very high. Most children may feel “cool” wearing sunglasses…I know I would! Buy them a pair of sunglasses, but make sure they have UV protection and that they fit the face properly, protecting the eyes at all angles. Furthermore, put them in a brimmed hat to make them feel even cooler!
Besides UV Rays affecting your children’s eyes, there are many vision problems that children can suffer from. The top three common issues are:
- Myopia (being nearsighted)
- Stabismus (being cross-eyed)
- Amblyopia (having a lazy eye)
Screenings and exams are very important as is early detection. Newborns are typically checked before leaving the hospital, but the American Optometric Association suggests that eye exams should be administered at 6 months, 3 years and 5 years of age. Vision can change throughout the years and these exams should be scheduled regardless of any vision concerns.
A large percentage of learning is visual and if you notice that your child is not excelling in school, do not assume they are “bored”. Without good vision, they may not be able to comprehend and learn which can frustrate them, therefore developing a poor self esteem. If you notice your child is not doing well in school or extracurricular activities, be sure to look for these symptoms:
- Rubbing of the eyes
- Frequent headaches
- Short attention span
- Holding objects close to their face
- Short attention span
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to take your child to an ophthalmologist to rule out any indications of poor vision.
Something else to be aware of is what happens outside of school. Each year, thousands of children suffer from eye injuries in the home. Be sure to avoid toys with sharp edges or protruding pieces. All toys should be appropriate for the child’s age and more importantly, maturity level. Fortunately, the eye heals quickly, but to a certain degree, the injury can be irreversible and cause permanent damage. Besides toys, there are also many objects in the home that can cause an eye injury. Be sure to keep all cleaning products, kitchen supplies, appliances, cosmetics, etc. out of sight.
Obviously it is important to give your child independence and help them live life to its fullest. Being cautious and promoting proper eye health and safety will ensure a lifetime of healthy vision.
For more information, please visit the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health