Mahaska Health Partnership Focuses on Children's Eye Health and Safety
August is recognized as the month to focus on the health and safety of children’s eyes through simple preventative measures and education.
While anyone can suffer eye damage, children are especially susceptible to UV damage because they usually tend to spend more time outdoors than adults. Protection from the sun can come in the form of proper sunglasses or a brimmed hat.
“Make sure to choose sunglasses that offer UV protection and fit the child’s face and shield the eyes from all angles,” instructed Family Nurse Practitioner Tina Main, ARNP-C, “Pairing a good pair of sunglasses with a brimmed hat provides the best protection for your child.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, children should begin getting their vision checked before they are three months old and continue to see an ophthalmologist, optometrist, pediatrician or other trained specialist at six months to one year, three years and five years. This is especially important if there is a family history of vision problems.
“Keep a look out for signs your child might have vision loss,” said Main, “Discovering and treating vision problems early may protect your child’s sight in the long run.”
Look for these signs of vision loss in your child:
- Closing or covering one eye
- Squinting eyes or frowning
- Complaining that things are blurry or hard to see
- Having trouble reading or doing close-up work
- Holding objects close to the eyes in order to see
- Blinking more than usual
- Crankiness when doing close-up work (such as looking at books)
In addition to vision loss prevention and medical check-ups on a child’s eyes, protective eyewear should also be implemented during play. Eye injuries can happen when children participate in sports, recreation or crafts so eye protectors are encouraged.
“If an eye injury does occur, do not rub or try to remove any object stuck in the eye,” advised Main, “Gently cover the eye and seek medical attention. Only in the event of a chemical exposure should you flush with water.”