Posted August 2, 2010
Schedule an Eye Evaluation to Avoid Problems
August is Children’s Eye Safety Month
Have you ever thought about the billions of things you see each day? Adults tend to notice when they are not seeing correctly and know to contact their eye doctor for assistance.
But kids are different. They lack the vision awareness and experience to know when they are not seeing as they should.
The most common vision problems in children are refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Unfortunately, one in four school-age kids have vision problems that, if left untreated, can hinder their ability to learn and negatively affect their personality and performance in school.
The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive their first eye exam by age one, the next one when they are three years old, and another before starting kindergarten. After that, students should have a yearly comprehensive examination to evaluate their total vision—not just a screening to check their ability to see.
Identifying Potential Vision Problems
Parents, teachers and child care workers should be aware that a child may be experiencing a vision problem if he or she:
- Complains frequently about headaches or tired eyes
- Avoids activities that require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distance vision, including participation in sports or play activities
- Sits too close to the TV or holds a book close to the face
- Loses place or skips words while reading
- Uses a finger to guide eyes when reading
- Complains of eye pain when using the computer
- Receives lower grades than normal
- Squints or tilts head to see better
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Experiences excessive tearing or sensitivity to light
- Closes one eye to read, watch TV or see better
- Writes uphill or downhill
- Finds it difficult to copy material from the chalkboard
If any of these vision warning signs are detected, schedule an appointment with an eye care professional for a comprehensive examination to evaluate the child’s vision and identify treatment options, if needed.
Share your stories or experiences …. Do you have kids, or know of any, who have experienced vision problems? What symptoms were detected? What actions were taken to evaluate the concerns? Did treatment improve their personalities or performances? How are they doing today? I will summarize the comments and include them in a future blog. – Ken
For more information about kids’ vision care, see http://www.ameritasgroup.com/apps/assets/content.asp?doc=030205 or http://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/.