August has arrived and that means that many parents are preparing their children for another school year. August is also Children's Eye Health and Safety Month. When 80% of learning occurs through the eyes, healthy vision is essential to a child's success in the classroom. In addition to buying school supplies and new clothes, don't forget to add scheduling a comprehensive eye exam as part of your back to school to-do list.
While most children's eyes are healthy, it is estimated that one in ten children is at risk for developing an undiagnosed vision problem that could easily be treated if diagnosed through an eye exam. If these issues aren't addressed, poor vision can lead to lower grades, diminished self-confidence and decreased self esteem. It is recommended that kids receive full, dilated eye exams at the ages of 6 months, 3 years, 5 years (or just before entering kindergarten), and every two years thereafter.
Keep a watchful eye out for some of these common indicators that might signal a potential vision problem in your child.
- Frequently rubbing eyes
- Titling or turning their head to look at objects
- Wandering eyes
- Squeezing or squinting their eyes
If you notice these symptoms, make sure you schedule an appointment with an eye care professional. Amblyopia, strabismus, color blindness and refractive errors are the most common conditions that affect children's vision.
Eye safety is also another important part of your child's eye health. Each year thousands of kids sustain some form of eye injury. 90% of those injuries can be prevented by taking proper precautions such as wearing protective eyewear. From sports to toys and fireworks, eye injuries can happen any time anywhere. You can help to safe-guard your child's vision by purchasing age-appropriate toys and encouraging them to wear protective eyewear during sports and other recreational activities.
Of course accidents do happen, so if your child does experience an eye injury, make sure they do not rub or touch their eye and seek medical attention from a trusted eye care professional as soon as possible.