With back-to-school just around the corner, parents are scrambling to get their children ‘classroom’ ready. As they tick off long lists of school supplies and check-ups, ophthalmologists remind busy moms and dads to take care of one very important learning tool: their children’s eyes.
Good vision and overall eye health are vital to learning and academic success. Florida Eye Institute joins with the American Academy of Ophthalmology to emphasize the importance of healthy vision during Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month this August.
Because children are still growing, being vigilant about eye health is important. The earlier problems are identified; the sooner they can be addressed. For healthy eyes and vision throughout the school year, Florida Eye Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend the following four tips:
- Get regular childhood vision screenings – Children’s eyes change rapidly, regular vision screening is an important step to detect and correct eye problems early. In addition to screenings for infants, the Academy recommends further vision screening for children as follows:
- Pre-school age, between age 3 – 3 1/2
- When entering school
- When experiencing a possible vision problem
For school-age children, a vision screening, which is less comprehensive than a dilated eye examination by an ophthalmologist, can be performed by a pediatrician, family physician, nurse or trained technician during regular checkups. If the screening detects a problem, the child may need to see an ophthalmologist — an eye physician and surgeon – or other eye care professional.
- Know and share your family eye health history – Everyone should find out whether eye conditions or diseases run in their family. Parents should share that information with the person performing the screening when possible. Examples of common eye conditions include nearsightedness, crossed eye, known as strabismus, and lazy eye, known as amblyopia. If these are not treated in childhood, they can cause permanent vision loss in one eye.
- Watch for signals of eye problems – Parents should be alert to symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision problem, such as complaints of eyestrain, headaches and squinting when reading or performing other common activities. Other symptoms to look for include a white or grayish-white coloring in the pupil, one eye that turns in or out, or eyes that do not track in sync together.
- Wear protective eyewear when playing sports – Eye injuries while playing sports can cause serious damage, whether by getting smacked with an elbow during basketball or hit with a hockey stick. If your child plays racket sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball or basketball, consider having them wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear.
Looking for a good eye doctor? Florida Eye Institute specializes in the advanced treatment of retina, cataract, glaucoma, and corneal disease. You’ll find complete eye care for the entire family, including the latest bladeless LASIK vision correction.
Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Medicare and most insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit www.fleye.com.