Back-to-school time is just around the corner, and the scramble to buy school clothes, new pencils, backpacks and notebooks will begin. At Nationwide Vision, we remind busy parents not to neglect one of the most important learning tools: their children’s eyes.
Good vision and overall eye health are vital to learning. Nationwide Vision joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing the importance of healthy vision to academic success during Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month in August.
Because your children are still growing, being vigilant about their eye health is important. The earlier that vision problems are identified, the sooner they can be addressed. For children to maintain healthy eyes and vision throughout the school year, we recommend the following four tips:
1. Get regular childhood vision screenings – Children’s eyes change rapidly, making regular comprehensive eye exams an important step in detecting and correcting eye problems early. In addition to screenings for infants, we recommend further vision screening for children when they are:
• Pre-school age, between ages 3 and 3 ½
• Starting a new school year
• Experiencing a possible vision problem
2. Know and share your family eye health history – Everyone should find out whether any eye conditions or diseases run in their family. Parents should share that information with the eye care professional performing their child’s screening when possible. Examples of common eye conditions include nearsightedness, crossed eye, known as strabismus, and lazy eye, known as amblyopia. If certain eye conditions are left untreated, your child can experience permanent vision loss in the future.
3. Watch for signals of eye problems – Parents should be alert to symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision problem, such as complaints of eyestrain, headaches and squinting when reading or performing other common activities. Other symptoms to look for include a white or grayish-white coloring in the pupil, one eye that turns in or out, or eyes that do not track in sync together.
4. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports – Eye injuries while playing sports can cause serious damage to your child’s eyes. If your child plays racket sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball, or basketball consider having them wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear.