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Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month

It goes without saying that our eyes play a vital role in our daily lives. While it’s not uncommon to need glasses or contacts as you age, have you considered the health of your child’s eyes? Healthy vision is essential for proper physical, cognitive, and social development in children, so regular screenings are necessary from an early age. Unfortunately, children may not receive help for their vision until they appear to be having a problem, such as trouble seeing the blackboard at school. In fact, one in 20 preschoolers and one in 4 school-aged children are affected by vision problems. This August, we recognize Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month to help spread awareness and encourage parents and caregivers to take an active role in their children’s visual health.

Importance of Early Vision Health

Good eyesight is essential for success in school, allowing children to properly see the lessons throughout the day. However, the eyes also play a role in healthy development, including the ability to develop motor skills and reach developmental milestones. Babies and children with vision issues can have problems such as a reduction in normal social interaction, or poor hand-eye coordination. Along with supporting proper development, regular eye exams can help prevent worsening problems and permanent vision loss, as several common eye problems benefit greatly from early intervention and treatment.

Protect Your Child from Eye Injuries

While vision problems are definitely a concern, it’s vital to also protect your child from potential eye injuries. Every year, accidents with common household items result in 125,000 eye injuries. On top of that, sports-related eye injuries lead to an emergency room visit every 13 minutes, and 43% of those sports-related injuries being in children ages 14 years and younger. Fortunately, 90% of these injuries can be prevented with the right precautions. By simply understanding where there are potential dangers, locating and removing hazards, and closely watching your child, eye injuries can be avoided. PreventBlindness.org offers tips and information for protecting children at home, while playing sports, spending time outdoors, and how to stay safe if around fireworks celebrations.

Maintain Your Child’s Eye Health

Regular visits with your child’s physician can help identify potential eye concerns early. Any age child – including babies – can wear glasses if found to be necessary. As they age, more comprehensive vision tests should be performed annually, whether part of a yearly physical at the pediatrician’s office, or with an eye doctor. Should an accident occur that results in an eye injury, contact your child’s doctor or visit the emergency room right away to prevent potentially permanent damage.

If your child is showing symptoms of a potential eye problem, such as squinting to see items at a distance or experiencing frequent headaches, contact an eye doctor for an exam. For convenient back-to-school exams, visit one of our Midwest Express Clinic locations today. We can help identify potential vision problems during your child’s physical and refer you to an eye care professional if needed.