Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month — Each August, this national health observance highlights the importance of protecting children’s vision and eye health. The plan is to educate parents and caregivers on school-readiness, vision screening, injury protection, sports eye safety, and signs of eye problems in children. You can learn more about this month by visiting the National Eye Institute.
Children’s eyes are constantly developing and changing as they grow. Therefore, it is essential to monitor their vision and eye health regularly and address any issues promptly. Poor vision can affect a child’s learning, social skills, and self-esteem. Some common eye problems in children are refractive errors, amblyopia, strabismus, and conjunctivitis. These conditions can often be corrected or treated if detected early. However, some children may not show any obvious signs of eye problems or may not complain of any discomfort. That is why parents and caregivers should take their children for regular eye exams by a qualified eye care professional.
Tips for parents and caretakers
- Schedule regular vision screenings and eye exams for your child. Your child’s pediatrician will likely screen your child’s vision as part of their regular checkups. If they find signs of a vision problem, they may recommend that your child see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment are key to protecting your child’s vision.
- Watch for signs of common vision problems in your child, such as squinting, rubbing eyes, tilting head, avoiding reading, or complaining of headaches or blurred vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your pediatrician or eye doctor as soon as possible.
Encourage your child to eat well, limit screen time, get enough sleep, and spend time outdoors. These habits can help protect your child’s vision and eye health. Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can provide vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy eyes and vision. Limiting screen time can prevent eye strain and dryness1. Getting enough sleep can help the eyes heal and recharge. Spending time outdoors can reduce the risk of nearsightedness and provide natural light for the eyes.
- Protect your child’s eyes from injuries by providing them with appropriate eye gear during sports activities or science class. Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the U.S. You can prevent most eye injuries by making sure your child wears protective eyewear such as goggles, safety glasses, or helmets with face shields. You should also keep sharp objects, chemicals, and toys with small parts away from your child’s reach.
- Seek medical help if your child has an eye injury or infection. Do not touch, rub, or apply pressure to the injured eye. Do not try to remove any object stuck in the eye. For small debris, lift the eyelid and ask the child to blink rapidly to see if tears will flush out the particle. If not, close the eye and seek treatment. If your child has redness, swelling, discharge, or pain in the eye, they may have an infection. Take them to the doctor right away and do not share towels, pillows, or eye drops with them.
Children’s eye health and safety is crucial to . Catching diseases and injuries early can be lifesaving and life enhancing. Make sure to schedule your children’s eye exams regularly and keep an eye on their everyday vision – are they straining to see? By maintaining an eye care exam schedule, you’ll be able to ensure that your kids have proper glasses when needed. Starting life with healthy eyes has a pretty good outlook!
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