Children’s Eye Health and Safety: Safeguard Your Child’s Eyesight
Children’s Eye Health and Safety: Warning Signs and Injury Prevention Tips
Now that our kiddos are back in school, they will be exposed to many new experiences. It’s important to keep them safe during these years of exploration and formation to prevent potential injuries and health issues. However, the subject of children’s eye and health safety usually does not get the importance that it deserves. Most parents have a myriad of issues to worry about but do not think that their child could lose their eye sight. Unfortunately, according to statistics, during the year 2015, a total of 61,739 children of school age up to 21 years old were reported to have sustained some type of vision loss by pertinent agencies including state departments of education.
Altus Emergency Centers is committed to educating our communities about children’s eye health in safety in order to recognize the warning signs of child vision loss and most importantly preventing it.
Know the Signs of Alert
Children’s Eye Health and Safety:
Very few people have 20/20 vision. Many must use eye glasses, contact lenses or get eye surgery to correct their vision impairment. However, if you do not practice proper children’s eye health and safety, a moderate vision issue can become more severe over time if left untreated. If your child frequently displays the following signs it could signify they have a vision problem.
Rubs eyes frequently – complains of itchy, scratchy, or burning eyes
Closes or covers one eye
Tilts or thrusts head forward
Has trouble reading or doing close-up work
After performing some close-up task has a headache, feels sick, nauseated, or dizzy
Squints eyes or frowns frequently
They frequently complain that they are having problems understanding what their teacher writes on the classroom board.
Most common eyesight problems in children
Our interest in Children’s Eye Health and Safety coincides with the start of the new school year. If you haven’t already, we recommend you have your child’s eyes thoroughly examined by a professional.
Vision plays an important role in a child’s development, and studies have put in evidence that vision problems can affect a child’s mental, physical, social, and learning abilities, this means that early detection and correction are imperative to the well-being of a child.
Children’s Eye Health and Safety: The most common eye problems in children
Commonly known as lazy eye, it is the leading cause of decreased vision among children. The condition develops when nerve pathways between the brain and the eye aren’t properly stimulated during infancy. Treatment options may include eye patches, eye drops, eyeglasses, or contact lenses and in some cases surgery.
This condition is what we normally refer to as crossed eyes, a child with this condition will have eyes that do not line properly, there is no known cause for this condition but it is believed to be genetic. In most cases, strabismus can be corrected with the use of eyeglasses or surgery.
Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. There are different types of refractive errors the most common in children are:
Myopia or nearsightedness: With this condition, objects that are close can be seen clearly, while objects that are far will seem blurry.
Hyperopia or farsightedness: In this case objects that are a certain distance away can be viewed clearly, while objects that are close by will be blurry. However, people experience farsightedness differently, some patients especially younger ones, may not notice any problems with their vision, while others with severe hyperopia will have blurry vision regardless of distance.
Astigmatism: This condition prevents the eye from evenly focusing light on the retina which is the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As a result, vision will be blurry and may seem stretched out.
All refractive errors in children can be treated with the use of prescription eyeglasses, or contact lenses.
Preventing Eye Injuries
A major part of Children’s Eye Health and Safety is injury prevention. Aside from the conditions mentioned, one of the leading causes of child vision loss is injuries. Most injuries occur at home, in the car, school or while playing outside. Experts believe that more than 90% of eye injuries sustained by children could have been prevented by the use of protective eyewear.
Here are some ways you can prevent eye injuries in kids.
Children who play sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, tennis or even paintball, should wear protective eye gear made from polycarbonate lenses.
Keep sprays and chemicals out of reach from small children.
Kids doing yard work or helping with house repairs or projects should also wear protective eyewear.
Avoid purchasing projectile style toys such as darts, or missile-firing toys.
Only purchase toys which are marked “ASTM”, this means the toy complies with the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials
Prevent your children from playing with BB guns, non-powder rifles, pellet guns, rockets, or fireworks.
Step to Take if an Eye Injury Occurs
What should I do if my child sustains an eye injury?
The eye is a particularly delicate organ. Should your child suffer an eye injury, you should immediately transport him or her to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for treatment.
In addition, you should avoid doing the following:
Do not touch, rub, or apply pressure to the injured eye.
Do not attempt to remove any object that is currently stuck in the eye.
Do not apply any type of ointment or medication to the eye.
Cuts or puncture wounds should be gently covered, do not apply pressure.
In the event of a chemical exposure, rinse with water.