Children’s Eye Heath & Safety Month
Content by Lesley Holmes, CMF Executive Director.
I was always one of those kids that sat at the front of the class, mostly because I couldn’t see. Only, I didn’t know that the numbers and the words on the chalkboard (yes, that’s right, I said chalkboard) weren’t supposed to be fuzzy. I only started to see clearly after my first eye exam when I was 15 and thankfully all I needed was a pair of glasses.
With back-to-school time now in full swing, good vision and overall eye health are vital to learning. Since keeping children healthy is a goal of Children’s Music Fund, we support the American Academy of Ophthalmology’ mission in emphasizing the importance of healthy vision during Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. After all, vision wellness is essential to academic success. Here are four tips to make sure kids’ vision get an A+ this school year!
1. Get regular childhood vision screenings – Children’s eyes change rapidly, making regular vision screenings is an important step in detecting and correcting eye problems early. In addition to screenings for infants, the Academy recommends further vision screening for children when they are:
• Pre-school age, between age 3 and 3 and ahalf
• Entering school
• Experiencing a possible vision problem
For school-age children, a vision screening–which is less comprehensive than a dilated eye examination by an ophthalmologist–can be performed by a pediatrician, family physician, nurse or trained technician during regular checkups. If the screening detects a problem, the child may need to see an ophthalmologist (an eye physician and surgeon) or other eye care professional.
2. Know and share your family eye health history– Everyone should find out whether eye conditions or diseases run in their family. Parents should share that information with the person performing the screening when possible. Examples of common eye conditions include nearsightedness, crossed eye, known as strabismus, and lazy eye, known as amblyopia. If these are not treated in childhood, they can cause permanent vision loss in one eye.
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, whether by getting smacked with an elbow during basketball or hit with a hockey stick. If your child plays racket sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball or basketball, consider having them wear goggles or other protective eyewear.
Because children are still growing, being vigilant about eye health is important. The earlier problems are identified; the sooner they can be addressed.
CMF partners with the Armenian Eye Care Project globally, and is committed to helping children maintain a healthy eye health. Help us on our mission of healing through music, donate today at theCMF.org