We use our eyes from the moment we wake until we fall asleep. Our vision helps shape the way we see the world. This is especially important for children, who are learning and changing every day. August is National Children’s Eye Health/Safety Month, so take some time to focus on children’s eye health in addition to your own.
Make sure your children are eating a balanced diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and vitamins supports eye health as well as overall nutrition and a healthy weight.
It is important to get your child’s vision checked regularly. Ages 0-24 months should be examined by 6 months of age or as recommended, age 2-5 years should be examined by age 3, and ages 5-19 years old should complete an annual vision exam. Early detection of visual impairment can help improve daily living and school performance and prevent a more serious issue later in life.
Potential Hazards to Avoid
When it comes to eye injury and vision damage, prevention is key. Many common causes of eye injury can happen at home. Protect your children from these potential hazards with the tips below.
- Store hazardous chemicals and cleaners in a safe place out of reach of your children. This can include fertilizers, pesticides, pool chemicals, and basic cleaning products like bleach.
- Use caution when cooking and use grease shields to prevent the splattering of hot grease or oil. Make sure children keep a safe distance when cooking.
- Keep sharp kitchen tools and utensils away from small children. Store them in child-proof locations, and avoid setting them down within reach of young children.
- Reduce fall injuries by securing rugs, utilizing safety gates, and cushioning sharp corners.
- Use caution with children’s toys that can shoot things like darts, missiles, or pellets. Avoid allowing children to use laser pointers, these can damage retina quickly.
- Make sure children wear protective eye wear when playing sports, especially those featuring a ball, puck, stick, bat, racket or flying objects.
Signs of Visual Problems
Signs that your child may be experiencing visual problems:
- Squinting, frequent blinking or rubbing of eyes
- Holding books close to face when reading
- Eyes pointing in different directions
- Twisting or tilting of the head to favor one eye
- Complaints of headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision
- Inability to judge distance properly (bumping into things)
Sources: MayoClinic, National Eye Institute, Visionworks. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.