Every year, a partnership between Prevent Blindness America and the American Academy of Ophthalmology deems August “Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.” Dr. Linda Vu thought this time of year would be an excellent opportunity to delve deeper into the issues facing children’s eye health and vision.
Why Clear Vision Is So Important to Children
The back-to-school season is a relevant time to discuss children’s eye safety and health because so much of classroom learning is visual. If your child suffers from poor vision or another problem with their eye health, their academic performance could suffer significantly. In addition to doing poorly in the classroom, your child’s athletic performance and self-esteem could possibly suffer as well.
In spite of how crucial clear vision is for children, many of them have a difficult time communicating that their vision is faltering. You should be on the lookout for the following signs that your child may be experiencing vision problems:
- Frequently rubbing the eyes
- Squinting or squeezing the eyes
- Wandering eyes
- Tilting or turning the head to look at an object
If your child displays any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist to have their eyes checked.
Potential Hazards to the Eyes
Eye safety is equally important as clear vision. Every year, sports, toys and fireworks send thousands of children to the emergency room for related eye injuries. The Friends for Sight organization estimates that 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented by wearing suitable protective eyewear.
At the very least, you should take the following precautions to prevent an injury:
- Talk to your children about safety around fireworks; supervise them to make sure they respect safety barriers at public events, and ban the use of at-home fireworks.
- Make sure the toys you purchase for your kids meet the safety standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Avoid toys with projectile pieces.
- If your child has signed up for football, baseball, hockey or another contact sport, check with the sport’s governing board — they will have information about the most suitable protective eyewear.
School Screenings vs. Eye Exams
Although vision screenings conducted in schools are important, they are less comprehensive than an eye exam with an ophthalmologist. Furthermore, the way most vision screenings are set up, they could miss vision problems like farsightedness because a child might be able to see distant objects — like an eye chart — clearly, but nearby objects appear blurry. A comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist looks at the health of the eyes and tests visual acuity at length, using special techniques and equipment.
To start your child’s school year off right, schedule an eye exam with Dr. Linda Vu. Call (626) 382-2020 or email our office to make your appointment today.