Its that time of year again! Back to School Eye Safety and eye health! Eye health is important at any age, but especially in children. According to the National Eye Institute, vision screenings and eye exams are critical for early detection of problems such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, the most common cause of visual impairment in young children. As a result, experts such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend vision screening for all children between the ages of 3 and 5 years to detect amblyopia or its risk factors. A pediatrician, family physician, or other properly trained health care provider can perform screening. It is also frequently provided in schools, community health centers, and at community events. If a vision problem is suspected, an ophthalmologist or optometrist should perform an eye examination. NEI also provides the following 10 Healthy Vision Tips for Children:
- Eat properly to protect your vision. Eat a well-balanced diet to keep your eyes healthy.Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens.Salmon, tuna, and halibut have also been shown to benefit your eyes.
- Get your feet moving. Did you know that kids who exercise have a lower body mass index than kids who do not? Being overweight or obese increases your risk of diabetes and other conditions that can cause vision problems.
- Encourage your child to speak up if their vision changes. Ask: Do you have hazy vision? Do you squint frequently? Have you ever had trouble seeing things at school? Inform a parent or teacher if your eyes hurt or if you notice any changes in your vision.
- Emphasize the significance of wearing prescribed glasses. Glasses improve vision, especially when they are clean and smudge-free. Discuss with your child how to clean glasses and how to store them when not in use.
- Prepare your child. Do they have a favorite sport? Are they using chemicals in science class? Grass cutting? Make sure your child is wearing appropriate eye protection. Many eye injuries can be avoided by practicing better safety habits, such as wearing protective eyewear.
- Keep germs at bay. Make sure your child always washes his or her hands before putting them near the eyes, especially when inserting or removing contact lenses.
- Give your eyes a rest. Is your child glued to a computer, phone, or television screen? Staring at one thing for an extended period of time can tire the eyes. Use the 20-20-20 rule to rest eyes: Look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Be sure to talk with your child about the importance of eye health and the eye health of family members, so they become comfortable and familiar with ‘keeping an eye” on their own eye health and safety!
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.