Children all over the country suffer from undetected vision problems that hinder their ability to learn. Here’s what you should know and how you can become part of the solution.
Eye issues are incredibly common in children, as one in 20 kids between the ages of three and five suffers from a vision problem that could lead to permanent damage if not treated.
In addition, 25% of all children have an eyesight problem of some sort, which can affect their hand-eye coordination, tracking ability, and depth perception.
Keep in mind that because 80% of all information in the classroom visual, children with sight problems tend to struggle, and 60% of kids with learning difficulties suffer from an undiagnosed issue with their vision.
As a parent, it is up to you to take an active role in checking your child’s vision, and since August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month, what better time to get started?
How to tell if your child has an eye issue
Communicating with young children is challenging, so you’ll have to watch for some signs that your child is experiencing vision problems. Common symptoms include:
- Eye rubbing
- Holding books close to the face
- Sitting too close to the television
- Closing one eye, tilting the head, or squinting when focusing on something
- Light sensitivity causing nausea or headaches
- Eye strain when using a computer, tablet, or smartphone
- Wandering eyes
- Tear-filled eyes when not crying
By watching how your child interacts with things around the house, you can learn a lot about his or her eyesight and any issues that are occurring. Reporting these habits during your child’s appointment can help the ophthalmologists to come up with a diagnosis.
Of course, your child experiencing one or more of these issues doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s an urgent problem, but it’s essential that you have his or her vision checked. Often, the longer you wait, the worse things will get.
Some common eye problems in children
During your child’s eye exam, the doctor will look for some common vision problems that occur in young people. Here are some of the foremost eye issues that your ophthalmologist will check for when examining your child’s eyes:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (blurred vision)
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Ptosis (drooping eyelids)
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Color blindness
The good news is that glasses and other corrective methods can improve many of these impediments, and if your child is struggling with reading or other school-related activities, this could be your solution.
Another idea to keep in mind is purchasing eye protection for your kids for when they’re playing sports. Athletic activities are responsible for 41% of all eye injuries to children between the ages of 10 and 14 and 25% of injuries to those between 15 and 24 years of age.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “more than 78% of people were not wearing eyewear at the time of injury. Only 5.3% of those who were wearing eyewear (including glasses or contact lenses), were wearing safety or sports glasses.”
Those numbers suggest that parents aren’t taking the necessary precautions and often take their children’s eye safely for granted.
Injuries commonly occur from fingers in the eyes or being hit with a ball or other piece of equipment, leading to issues like corneal abrasions, detached retinas, and orbital bone fractures. Most of these injuries, however, could be prevented or lessened with the proper eyewear.
Protect your children’s eyes, so they don’t end up with sight-limiting injuries in the future.
The importance of regular screening
Having your child’s eyes checked regularly is very important because ophthalmologists can improve many vision issues.
Start by having your child’s vision checked at six months, and then every six months until the child is three. These regular check-ups allow the doctor to visually examine for anything that could cause problems before your child can communicate them verbally.
Once your child can talk about potential vision-limiting problems, it is still vital to have a screening at least once per year to diagnose underlying issues and ensure that your child’s eyes are developing correctly.
Making a difference in your child’s life
Of course, the primary way in which you can make a difference is by taking your children to an ophthalmologist regularly. No matter what month it is, taking an active approach to your young ones’ eye health is essential for their long-term development and something that you should take seriously.
Remember, LiveWell 1440 offers health education services to your employees, so they can learn about the importance of taking care of their eyes and pass this information to the next generation. The more your workers know, the better they can care for the overall health of their families. Contact us today for more information on the packages we offer our corporate clients.