August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month at Pomona Valley Health Centers. It’s the perfect time to raise awareness about preventing eye injuries and vision loss as kids across the country head back to in-person learning this fall.
It’s important for parents to take an active role in their children’s eye health, which is why this month we’re dedicated to spreading information about the importance of healthy vision, teaching parents about early detection, raising awareness about preventing eye injuries and saving children’s eyesight by working closely with teachers.
Why are eye exams important for kids?
Children’s eye exams are essential for making sure your child’s eyes are healthy. Vision issues can lead to learning problems and behavioral issues in children, but early diagnosis and treatment can give children the tools they need to succeed. About 80% of what children learn in school is taught visually, which means if a child has undetected and uncorrected vision problems, they are more likely to struggle developmentally and academically at school.
Warning signs your child may have vision problems
Some warning signs your child may be struggling to see clearly are:
- Tilting the head or squinting to see things at a distance
- Frequent eye rubbing while concentrating
- Holding a book too close or sitting too close to the television
- Consistently using his fingers as guides while reading
- Closing one eye to read or watch television
- Excessive or unexplained tearing
- Eye discomfort while using the computer or other electronic device
- Sensitivity to light with headache or nausea
The best way to protect your child’s eyesight
Aside from looking for some of the warning signs listed above, it’s important to protect your child’s eyes from injuries by ensuring that their toys are age-appropriate and free of sharp or protruding parts and that they always wear protective lenses while playing sports.
Your child should have a comprehensive eye exam by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist at 6 months old and then again at 3 years old. If everything looks good, their next exam should be shortly before they begin first grade.
Children who do need corrective lenses should get their eyes examined at least once every year or as recommended by their doctor. If your school-aged child does not need corrective lenses, however, they should have their eyes examined at least every 2 years. A good rule of thumb is to have your child’s eyes examined during their annual well-child visit, beginning at age 3. Your family medicine doctor can help detect things like 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)
Protect your child’s health with help from Pomona Valley Health Centers. Our PREMIER family medicine physicians are highly experienced in the science of medicine and the art of compassionate care. We provide regular vision screens along with every comprehensive wellness exam and are dedicated to the health and wellness of your family. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment.