Prevent Blindness and the National Optometric Association Declare August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month to Help Make Vision Care for Kids a Priority
August is dedicated to preventing eye injuries and vision loss and saving children’s eyesight. One of 20 children ages 3 to 5 has a vision problem that could result in permanent vision if left untreated. Despite this unsettling statistics, 80 percent of preschoolers do not receive an eye screening. Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month encourages parents to learn how to protect their child’s eyesight and save their child’s eyesight from vision threatening conditions through regular eye exams, hence early detection and proper treatment.
Parents should make their child’s vision health a priority, which is why the main objectives of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month are to:
Spread Information On The Importance Of Healthy Vision
Many activities gear towards family-friendly resources that help parents take care of their child’s eye sight and keep it healthy.
Know More About Early Detection Of Vision Problems In Children
Impart the red flags that a child may have a vision problem, such as uneven focus, amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes). Early detection of vision conditions is crucial. Lazy eye is often corrected if treatment started at an early age; however, successful treatment is rarely achieved if treatment has started after a child reaches 8 or 9 years old.
Raise Awareness About Preventing Eye Injuries In Children
In addition to eye diseases and conditions, you can also protect your children from sports-related eye injuries. About 100,000 sports-related eye injuries happen every day, where in one-third of these injuries occur in children under age 16. 90% could have been avoided if the child had worn protective eyewear, such as polycarbonate lenses fitted by an eye care professional. These lenses can withstand a ball traveling 90mph as it is 20 times stronger than ordinary eyeglasses.
Save Children’s Eyesight
Teach parents to help their child correct their vision and recover from vision loss.
If you or your doctor suspects that your child may have a vision problem, you can make an appointment with your local ophthalmologist for further testing.
Any child who experiences vision problems or shows symptoms of eye trouble should receive a comprehensive eye exam by an eye care provider (an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.)
Some children are more likely to have eye problems. A child's doctor should be aware of the following factors that may make a child more likely to develop a vision problem:
- The child was born prematurely
- The child has a family history of eye problems (Issues can range from childhood cataract to lazy eye [amblyopia] to misaligned eyes or eye tumors.)
- The child has had an eye injury (Problems resulting from childhood eye injuries may develop much later in life.)
- The child has diabetes (Both children and adults with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam at least once a year.)
Keeping your children’s eyes safe is another part of maintaining healthy vision. Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. There are about 42,000 sports-related eye injuries every year in America, and children suffer most of these injuries. Help prevent your child from being one of the more than 12 million children who suffer from vision impairment by remembering a few basic rules of safety:
- All children should wear protective eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities
- Purchase age-appropriate toys for your children and avoid toys with sharp or protruding parts (Source: HAP).
Message on Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month
Children should have an eye exam at 6 months and this must be repeated at age 3. Once they start school, eye exams must be done regularly. About 80% of what children learn in school is taught visually, which means if a child has undetected and uncorrected vision problem, it will affect the child’s development and performances in school. Some warning signs that your child may be experiences vision problems are:
- Tilting the head or squinting to see the class board better or when watching TV
- Frequent eye rubbing when he’s trying to concentrate on something.
- Holding a book too close to his eyes or often sitting close to the TV.
- Consistently using his fingers to guide his eyes when reading.
- Closing one eye to read or watch TV.
- Excessive tearing without any tear-causing stimuli.
- Eye discomfort when using a computer or any digital device i.e digital eye strain.
- Sensitivity to light, which sometimes accompanied by headache or nausea.
- Wandering eyes.
It’s your responsibility as a parent to know how you can keep your child’s vision healthy and obtain early diagnosis in case your child is suffering from vision problems through a regular eye exam. Also, be aware that eye injuries can happen anytime, anywhere. Eye injuries are often caused by sports or physical activities, so know proper precautions such as wearing protective eyewear when playing sports. Remember to schedule your child an eye exam today!