Children’s Eye Health & Safety
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month!
Good vision and healthy eyes are important at any age, but even more so for children. A child’s vision problems can greatly affect their performance in school and their self-confidence. Fortunately, most potential vision problems are identified and treated early and those that may not be obvious until much later are caught by preschool eye tests or pediatric checkups.
Vision changes often occur without anyone noticing, but regular screenings can help determine if young children need glasses or contacts. Children should have regular vision tests during their pediatric appointments or earlier if you notice any of the following:
- Squinting while trying to focus.
- If the child states that things are blurry or hard to see.
- Lack of interest in reading or distant objects.
- Family history of hereditary vision problems.
- Wandering eye or crossed eyes.
Common vision problems in children include:
Refractive errors include both myopia (nearsightedness) the most common refractive vision problem among school-aged children and hyperopia, or farsightedness can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Symptoms often include headaches, blurred vision, and eye strain.
Amblyopia or “lazy eye”, affects about four out of every 100 people and occurs when one eye has not developed normal sight. Once detected, lazy eye can be corrected with glasses, surgery, or an eye patch over the stronger eye to strengthen the “lazy” eye.
Strabismus double vision caused by crossed eyes as one eye focuses straight ahead while the other eye turns in, out, up or down. Strabismus requires early treatment and cannot be outgrown, glasses may improve focusing.
Color vision deficiency or color blindness may be hereditary and involves the inability to distinguish between colors or shades of colors. Their is no “cure” for color blindness but the condition may be improved through tinted glasses or contact lenses.
Conjunctivitis, or pink-eye, is a highly contagious infection of the eyelids which become crusted by discharge. Additional symptoms include red or pink eyes and burning and itching. Conjunctivitis is treatable with antibiotic drops and ointments.
Corneal abrasions often occur during outdoor sports and recreational activities, and usually in children and teens. If left untreated, eye injuries can cause permanent damage a child’s vision and may even cause blindness.
You can reduce or avoid eye injuries by securing household items that may cause damage like caustic cleaners, sharp tools, scissors and even pencils in younger toddlers. Provide age appropriate toys without sharp or protruding parts. Your child should wear protective eyewear when involved in sports, especially those with high velocity action like tennis, lacrosse and hockey.
Pay close attention to how your child appears to view the world. Frequent head tilting, squinting, eye rubbing, excessive tears, or sensitivity to light and headaches are all signs that your child may have vision problems that should be checked out by a trained clinician. Click Here for More