August is a great time of year to celebrate Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. That’s because parents are busy preparing their children to head back to school. Along with rounding up new clothes and school supplies, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is asking parents to focus on one of the children’s most important learning tools: their eyes.
At school, children do many things, such as:
- Use computers
- Play at recess
- Engage in extracurricular activities
Good vision and eye health are vital to learning and much more.
The AAO has four tips to celebrate healthy vision throughout the school year.
Celebration Tip #1: Get Regular Childhood Vision Screenings
Because children’s eyes change often, regular screenings are important to detect and correct eye problems early. We typically recommend patients come in once a year.
Consider scheduling your eye exam while it’s still summertime. More free time means you can schedule each child at the same time, and an updated prescription can help set your child up for success on the first day of school.
Consider turning your eye exam trip into a fun learning experience. Teach your child the names of the tools the optometrist or ophthalmologist may use.
Celebration Tip #2: Know Your Health History
Learn what eye diseases or conditions run in your family. Then, share that information with eye care professionals.
Some examples include:
Not treating certain conditions early can result in permanent vision loss later in life.
Celebration Tip #3: Watch For Signals Of Eye Problems
Parents should look for symptoms of an eye or vision problem, such as:
- Sitting too close to the TV, or holding books or electronic devices close to their face.
- Complaints of eyestrain.
- Frequently rubbing their eyes.
- Avoiding activities that require close-up or distance vision.
- Pupils colored white or grayish-white.
- One eye that turns in or out.
- Eyes appearing bloodshot or vacant.
- Eyes that don’t track in sync.
- Receiving lower grades than usual or not paying attention in school.
Any of these symptoms is cause to see and inform an eye care professional.
Celebration Tip #4: Wear Protective Eyewear When Playing Sports
As many children engage in sports, we must make sure to preserve their eyes.
Children should wear protective eyewear to avoid eye injuries in activities such as swimming or cross-country.
Some of the benefits of goggles are that they protect your eyes, keep your vision sharp, look fashionable, and protect your eyes against the sun.
As we move into August and pay attention to children’s eye health and safety, schedule an appointment with your preferred eye care provider.