Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
It’s important to keep an eye on your kids, but it’s equally important to keep an eye on your kid’s eyes. Make sure to pay special attention to your children’s eye and health safety. It’s back to school season, which means as a parent, you are probably busy shopping for school supplies and clothes. But there is one more thing you must add to your back to school checklist, and that is scheduling an eye exam for your kids.
Eye exams at the beginning of the school year are essential because vision health and learning go hand in hand.
Children, especially young ones, don’t know what normal vision is like, so they may not complain if they have any eyesight problems. And if your child can’t see very well, it may affect their studies.
You should get a comprehensive eyesight test for your kids at least once a year because children’s eyes change as they grow. Children’s eye and health safety go way past the eye exams.
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Tips
Common Eyesight Problems in Children
An eye examination can help diagnose the most common eyesight problems, including:
- Near-Sightedness: Also known as short-sightedness or myopia. This eye disorder occurs when light focuses in front of, instead of on, the retina. As a result, distant objects to be blurry while close objects appear normal.
- Far-Sightedness: Also known as hyperopia. As you may have guessed, this is the opposite of near-sightedness. In far-sightedness, the light focuses behind instead of on the retina. As a result, close objects appear blurry, while far objects may appear normal.
- Astigmatism: This disorder happens because the eye does not focus light evenly on the retina. As a result, vision is always blurry no matter the distance.
Prescription lenses can correct any of these conditions. However, eye exams can also help diagnose other disorders, such as:
- Amblyopia: Commonly referred to as lazy eye
- Strabismus: Crossed eyes
- Ptosis: Drooping of the eyelid
- Color deficiency: Colorblindness
Preventing Eye Injuries in Children
Protecting your children’s eyesight means more than keeping them healthy; it also means preventing eye injuries.
Prevent Blindness provides the following statistics:
- Every year there are more than 125,000 eye injuries caused by household products
- Emergency rooms treat a sports-related eye injury every 13 minutes
- 43% of all sports-related eye injuries victims are children 14 and younger
The good news is 90% of these eye injuries are preventable; all we need is to understand the dangers, implement safety practices, and use appropriate eye protection.
Eye Safety at Home
Protect your child from eye injury at home, by:
- Making sure your furniture and fixtures don’t have sharp edges
- Not using hazardous solvents and detergents around your kids. And remember never to mix cleaning agents
- Don’t let your kids out in the yard when you are using a lawnmower or weed trimmer as debris can fly and hit them
- Use guards on all your power tools and equipment
Outdoor and Play Eye Safety
These tips can help you keep your child’s eyes safe while they are outside or playing:
- Teach your children to never look directly at the sun
- Make sure your child wears safety goggles or glasses made from polycarbonate while playing sports. Polycarbonate lenses are 20 times stronger than ordinary eyeglasses and can withstand a ball traveling 90mph
- Toys that shoot pellets, arrows, or paintballs are not safe for young children. If your kids are older and want to play with these types of toys, make sure they wear safety goggles.
- Inspect your child’s playgrounds and play areas for potential eye hazards
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
When to Bring Your Kid to the ER
Not all eye injuries will require a trip to our ER. However, knowing when to come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center can save your child’s eye.
- Acute Hyphema: This is a severe injury that requires immediate medical attention. Blunt trauma is the cause of acute hyphema. The blow causes blood to accumulate in the space between the cornea and the iris.
- Punctured Eyeball: Another serious eye injury that will require immediate medical attention. A punctured eyeball happens when a sharp object has completely torn the cornea or sclera. This type of injury can result from flying debris from a lawnmower
As parents, it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure our kids’ eyes are healthy. But there will be times when you won’t be able to prevent an accident, that is where Altus Emergency Centers can make a difference.
Our pediatric emergency physicians are on call 24/7 to take care of your little ones in times of need.