Children are susceptible to a host of vision and eye problems such as injury, infection and increased nearsightedness. In support of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month in August, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Albemarle Eye Center and Precision Eye Care (AECPEC) provides information to the public that can help protect and preserve a child’s eye health for life.
A good rule of thumb is to have your children’s eyes examined during well-child visits, beginning around age three. Your child’s eye doctor 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 or your doctor suspects that your child may have a vision problem, you can make an appointment with your local ophthalmologist or optometrist 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 the United States, 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.
Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology
Albemarle Eye Center & Precision Eye Care