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DUE TO HIGH VOLUME OF COVID-19 SUPPLIES, ORDERS MIGHT BE DELAYED 2 TO 4 DAYS
DUE TO HIGH VOLUME OF COVID-19 SUPPLIES, ORDERS MIGHT BE DELAYED 2 TO 4 DAYS
Children's Eye Health & Safety Month: 5 Eye Health Facts

Children's Eye Health & Safety Month: 5 Eye Health Facts

Right now you may be frantically preparing for your child's return to school in a difficult and uncertain year. One of the best things you can do for your child's academic experience, no matter what the year looks like, is scheduling a comprehensive eye examination for them! Below we've got five facts about children's eye health that show that it's one of the most important parts of their development.

Back to School Children's Eye Health

1. Academic success relies on good vision

The American Optometric Association (AOA) says that nearly 80 percent of learning occurs through visual activities. Your child's vision is constantly in use both in the classroom and at play, and increasing levels of development lead to increasing demands made on the eyes. Effective reading and learning requires a surprising number of skills: visual acuity, eye focusing, eye tracking, eye teaming (the coordination of both eyes together), eye-hand coordination, and visual perception (the ability to organize images). Visual skills are also instrumental in recognition, comprehension, and learning retention.

2. Children might not be able to explain their own visual difficulties

If development of any of the above skills described is impeded by physical issues like refractive errors, it won't just harm your child's vision but also their ability and willingness to learn. A young child may not understand that their vision is different from how everybody else sees, and might become frustrated by reading or schoolwork. It's important to know the signs of a child dealing with a vision problem:

  • Wandering or crossed eyes.
  • Squinting: especially evident when trying to focus on a screen or while reading.
  • Head turning or tilting: they may be relieving eye muscle strain due to strabismus.
  • Difficulty with close objects: particularly reading difficulties.
  • Closeness: holding screens or books close to the face, sitting close to the TV.
  • Disinterest: concentration difficulties or a short attention span.
  • Irritation: Frequently rubbing eyes.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Poor hand coordination or clumsiness.
  • A family history of vision problems.
  • Frequent headaches: can be accompanied by nausea.

Girl Has Comprehensive Eye Exam Optometrist

3. Eye exams and vision screenings are different

A vision screening is not a comprehensive eye exam. A typical vision screening only checks for 20/20 vision, and while this is useful for detecting major eyesight changes, the AOA estimates that 60 percent of vision problems go undetected by basic screenings. A child should have their first comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist at six months old, again at three years old, and then yearly when they reach school age.

4. Children have a wide range of vision problems

The reason that comprehensive eye exams are necessary is that there are a host of problems that could affect your child's vision at various stages of development. The most common ones include:

  • Astigmatism: a type of refractive error in which the eye's curvature is imperfect, causing light to focus unevenly on the retina. This leads to distorted or blurred vision.
  • Myopia: also known as nearsightedness, this refractive error leads to close-up objects appearing clear but distant objects appearing blurry. It's the most common cause of impaired vision in people under 40 years old.
  • Hyperopia: also known as farsightedness, this refractive error leads to distant objects appearing clear but close-up objects appearing blurry.
  • Amblyopia: also known as lazy eye, a disorder in which the brain favors inputs from one eye over the other.
  • Strabismus: also known as crossed eyes, a condition in which the eyes don't align properly.
  • Ptosis: drooping of the eyelid.
  • Color Deficiency: color blindness.

Soccer Girl Wears Protective Eye Goggles

5. Sports injuries can affect eyesight

There are 12 million children worldwide with vision impairment due to eye injuries, and every year around 20,000 sports-related eye injuries occur to children in America. It's important to always wear protective gear during sports, both goggles and helmets. It's not just the threat of something impacting the eye; head trauma from concussions can also cause vision problems. This can manifest as symptoms like blurry vision, light sensitivity, difficulty focusing, difficulty reading, peripheral vision problems, and problems with visual perception. Make sure your child uses proper protective gear like helmets!

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