The American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated August Children’s Eye and Safety Month. As children head back to school this month, it is an excellent time to be reminded of the importance of protecting your child’s vision!
Keep reading to learn how to keep your children’s eyes protected during Children’s Eye and Safety Month!
1. Eye Exams
One of the most important ways you can protect your child’s eyes is to be sure to take them for regular eye exams with a qualified eye care provider, like those at Shepherd Eye Center. It is estimated that one in-twenty children between the ages of three and five have mild to moderate vision problems that could lead to impaired vision if not treated.
Regular eye exams are the best way to ensure that minor eye problems do not become severe eye conditions.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Vision Changes
Often, children’s eyesight changes without parents or caregiver’s noticing. These changes can affect your child’s learning and cognitive development, especially when they begin to attend school.
With regular eye exams, nearsightedness or farsightedness can be easily addressed and remedied with corrective visual aids. Parents and caregivers should be on the lookout for signs of potential vision issues.
These signs include eyes that appear red, watery, or swollen, constant eye rubbing, or suddenly sitting closer to or further away from the television. Also, pay attention to complaints of blurry vision, frequent squinting, or frowning.
Children do not always know how to explain the issues they are having with their vision accurately, but parents and caregivers can help by staying alert to signs of vision problems.
3. Ensure Your Children Keep Up with Contact Lens Hygiene
For older kids and teens who might be wearing contact lenses, parents need to stress the need to wear and care for their contact lenses properly. Overwearing contact lenses can lead to dry eye, eye infections, and corneal ulcers that may permanently damage your child’s vision.
Reminding your older child or teen to remove and clean their lenses regularly can help prevent these harmful eye conditions.
4. Limit Screentime
Older kids and teens should also be aware of the damaging effects of staring at a screen for extended periods. A good rule to follow to prevent eye strain from long hours of computer use is the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look up and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Just taking this small break can relieve the strain on young eyes caused by prolonged focus.
5. Remind Them to Wear Sunglasses
Whatever your child’s age, it is important to protect their eyes from exposure to harmful UV light. The effects of over-exposure to UV light are cumulative and often do not appear until later in life.
Children should be encouraged to wear sunglass or glasses with lenses that block UV light when they are outside. If they are too young for sunglasses or resistant to wearing them, a wide-brimmed hat that completely shades their eyes is another protective option.
Children’s eyes are critical to seeing and learning all about the world around them as they grow and mature into adults. Awareness and simple preventive measures go a long way in ensuring your child’s eyes are protected!
Is it time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child? Contact Shepherd Eye Center in Las Vegas, NV, today to set up an appointment!