August Is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month

August 2, 2018

Most children have healthy eyes, but there are conditions that can threaten good vision. Children’s eyes are usually examined during regular pediatric appointments, and vision testing should be done around age three.

 

Parents should be aware of signs that may indicate their child has vision problems, including:
 

  • Wandering or crossed eyes

  • A family history of childhood vision problems

  • Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects

  • Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television
     

If there is a visual problem as a child, it is very important to follow the doctor's instructions.

 

Most childhood visual problems can be readily treated with glasses or patching, sometimes surgery, but if not treated adequately while young, can lead to permanent loss of vision as an adult (amblyopia, or a "lazy eye"). This can create problems such as lack of depth perception, loss of peripheral vision and limit a child’s abilities to perform to their fullest potential in school, activities, sports or even occupations later in life.

 

EYE SAFETY FOR CHILDREN

 

Since there is no comprehensive list of safe toys, it is smart to establish your own safety checks to help you make the right toy decision for your little one. EYE INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE YOUNG CAN BE BLINDING! Here are some tips to follow:
 

  • Prepare: Educate yourself on the right toys for your child’s age group and research the toys that interest them. The internet is a great place to browse safety reviews and toy reviews by other parents like you.

  • Read Labels: Look for the letters "ASTM" on the label. This means that the toy conforms to certain national safety standards and that you can have the confidence in its soundness. Read all safety messages on the toy packaging so you can judge its appropriateness for your tot.

  • Play Inspector: Are there sharp pointed edges on the toy? Examine for sturdy construction. You do not want a toy that could break and shatter into sharp pieces.

  • Keep Safety Going at Home: Once a toy has passed your safety checks, demonstrate proper use of the toy to your child since misuse of the toy is also another cause of injury. Put toys away after playtime is over and keep toys designed for older children away from little ones. Helmets and safety gear should always be worn with all riding toys, including bikes, tricycles, and scooters. Throw broken toys away immediately. Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable with a certain toy, it is probably not safe for your child.
     

Most of all:
 

  • Avoid projectile based toys until your child can safely handle them, and wear eye protection when they do. Remember that the smaller and harder the projectile, the more damage it can do to the eye. A 3" Nerf ball is safer than an Airsoft pellet.

  • Don’t let your children play-fight with sticks or other pointed objects. This is a recipe for disaster.

  • Don’t let your kids handle fireworks when young. We recommend not allowing them to do so until they have demonstrated they can make safe decisions, as a teenager at the earliest. Everyone should wear eye protection when around fireworks.
     

Remember: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (Benjamin Franklin). Once damage is done to the eye sometimes it cannot be undone.  YOU are your child's advocate and YOU are responsible for his/her safety.

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