Protect your children’s eyesight
U.S. Army Public Health Command
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – In the rush of being a parent, sometimes basic safety practices are forgotten. Children are extremely active, and it can be difficult to keep track of all of the details of their day.
Eye safety is easy to overlook. Unless there is a problem, we forget that our eyes are even there, yet we use them every waking moment of the day. Damage to the eyes can be a devastating and life-long issue; therefore it is very important to teach your children to keep their eyes safe.
There are basic precautions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of eye problems. All children need to have their eyes checked regularly. Newborn infants have their eyes checked as a standard procedure in the hospital nursery.
Pediatricians look for vision problems during well-baby exams from birth to 2 years old. Vision screenings are then performed during well-child exams from ages 3 to 10 years old. If there is any concern at all about vision or other eye problems, the child needs to have a comprehensive examination by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. The recommendation of the American Optometric Association is an eye exam at 6 months of age, at 3 years, before first grade and every two years thereafter, unless otherwise specified or the child is having problems.
In addition to exams, parents must protect against injury. One of the most common causes of childhood eye injuries is misusing toys or other common tools and objects; another is falling from beds, on stairs or against furniture. Other common causes of eye injury are coming into contact with harmful household products and car accidents. Sports also cause eye injuries in children; these injuries are preventable with appropriate protective eyewear. Many of these injuries can be prevented through parental supervision and better safety procedures.
Your children trust you to keep them safe, so make sure you are doing your part to protect them. Be aware of the objects and products in your home and their hazardous potential – make your home more child-safe. Supervise playing. Purchase age-appropriate toys for your children. Always keep children away from fireworks. Ensure your children wear protective eyewear when playing sports, mowing or participating in other potentially dangerous activities. Put sunglasses with UV protection on children when they will be in direct sunlight. And of course, set a good example and practice personal eye safety.
For more information on eye safety, visit www.preventblindness.org/.