To help people preserve their vision through their life, the American Optometric Association (AOA) holds Save Your Vision Month annually in March. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve complied a list of ways you can protect your children’s vision and eye health.
Why kids need comprehensive eye exams
One in four children suffer from a vision problem, which can affect their learning and behavior, reports Think About Your Eyes. This is because nearly half of school-age children have never received a quality eye exam and many need glasses without even knowing it. Since so much learning and other activities are visual, children are at a huge disadvantage if they cannot see well.
A comprehensive eye exam checks all aspects of vision and eye health and may rule out misdiagnosed behavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Even if your child’s school offers a vision screening, this will only be a simple check that detects basic problems. Any unnoticed conditions left untreated could cause permanent vision loss.
Your child should receive his or her first eye exam at about six months, another at six years, and again just before entering kindergarten or first grade, advises the AOA. From then on, children need eye exams every two years, unless they require vision correction, in which case you should follow your eye doctor’s instructions.
Look out for the signs
It can be easy to tell if your child has a vision problem when you know what to look for. Symptoms include:
- A dislike of reading or holding books close to the face
- A short attention span
- Difficulty playing catch, tying shoes, or copying from the whiteboard
- Sitting too close to the television
- Frequent blinking or rubbing of the eyes
- Guiding eyes with a finger when reading
- Poor school performance
Protecting your kids’ eyes from damage caused by too much UV exposure
In addition to having your kids’ eyes checked routinely, part of keeping their vision (and your own) healthy is by wearing your sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV exposure. Use our checklist to ensure your children’s eyes are adequately protected, and remember that you can purchase sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection from the Real Kids store online.