August is Eyewear Safety Month
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. The eye health needs of children are different from those of adults, and early diagnosis and treatment is critical to preserve a child’s eye health. In July, the American Optometric Association (AOA) released the newly revised Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline: Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination for pediatric eye health. The guideline puts comprehensive eye exams on par with other annual health examinations for children and recommends that the eye exam is conducted with a one-year frequency in place of a two-year frequency.
With schools due to reopen shortly, the AOA has put together the following recommendations to meet the new guideline to prioritize eye health and safety:
- Preschool-age children should receive at least one in-person comprehensive eye and vision examination between the ages of 3 and 5 to prevent and/or diagnose and treat any eye or vision conditions that may affect visual development.
- School-age children should now receive an in-person comprehensive eye and vision examination annually to diagnose, treat and manage any eye or vision problems.
- As routine vision screenings offered at a school or pediatrician’s office are not enough to catch most vision problems and ensure follow-up even if problems are detected, the best course of action is following an annual eye exam schedule.
- Children who experience a concussion should visit their optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam in addition to an appointment with their health care provider.
- Comprehensive eye exams play an important role in identifying ocular trauma such as corneal scars, hemorrhages and folds when external signs may be limited or nonexistent.
A good rule of thumb is to have your children’s eyes examined during well-child visits, beginning around age three. We can help detect refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as the following diseases:
Amblyopia (lazy eye) Strabismus (crossed eyes) Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid) Color deficiency (color blindness)
If you suspect that your child may have a vision problem, you can make an appointment with us for further testing. There are some specific warning signs that may indicate that your child has a vision problem. Some of these include:
Wandering or crossed eyes A family history of childhood vision problems Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television
Keeping your children’s eyes safe is another part of maintaining healthy vision.
Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. There are about 42,000 sports-related eye injuries every year in America, and children suffer most of these injuries. Help prevent your child from being one of the more than 12 million children who suffer from vision impairment by remembering a few basic rules of safety:
All children should wear protective eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities Purchase age-appropriate toys for your children and avoid toys with sharp or protruding parts (Source: HAP). Help your children have a successful school year by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam and taking safety measures to ensure their eyes are free from injury.