Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month This August
July 31, 2022
Vision disorders make it difficult for people to interact with the world around them. According to Prevent Blindness, one of the nation’s leading eye health and safety organizations dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight, untreated eye diseases and conditions in children become more difficult to repair as time progresses. In some instances, they also endanger a child’s chances of achieving academic and social success. This August, Prevent Blindness is celebrating Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month in partnership with the National Optometric Association. One of the main goals behind Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is to teach parents and caregivers about what steps they can take to make sure their children have the best chance of achieving a successful school year by maintaining healthy vision.
Important Facts on Eye Diseases and Conditions in Children
One of the most startling facts about children’s eye health is that one in 20 children between the ages of 3 and 5-years-old has a condition that could lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. Despite these numbers, current estimates suggest that approximately 80% of preschool-aged children have not received an eye health screening. Vision exams are particularly important for children because they may begin developing problems or experiencing a change in vision without themselves, their parents or caregivers noticing right away.
Here is some other important information from Prevent Blindness and the Vision Resource Center of Berks County on vision disorders and other problems that children experience:
- Vision disorders can negatively impact a babies’ ability to bond with their caregiver or parent, their ability to explore the world by reaching and grasping, and can also impede the development of their fine and gross motor skills
- One in every four school-aged children and one in every 17 preschool-aged children have some sort of vision problem that requires corrective treatment
- 80% of blindness and vision impairment is preventable or treatable
- 24% of teens with correctable vision disorders or issues have the wrong prescription
- Untreated eye conditions in children become more difficult to correct as time goes on. They can also lead to other serious conditions and can affect a child’s reading ability, focus, classroom behavior, and social adjustment
- Some of the most common vision problems in children are amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (“crossed eyes”), myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism
A great way to assess a child for eye problems is to undergo a vision screening. While vision screenings do not take the place of comprehensive eye exams, they are effective at identifying when a child is at risk for or currently experiencing a problem. After a vision screening, the next step is an eye exam conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. A comprehensive eye exam includes an evaluation of the refractive state, dilated fundus examination, visual acuity, ocular alignment, binocularity, and, when appropriate, color vision testing. Various children’s health organizations provide suggested timetables for checkpoints related to children’s eye health. To learn more about these timetables, visit the Prevent Blindness website.
Sports-Related Eye Injuries in Children
Another primary cause behind eye injuries and conditions in children are sports-related injuries. Every day, approximately 100,000 sports-related eye injuries occur; roughly one-third of these injuries are sustained by children under the age of 16-years-old. Despite how common sports-related injuries are, the number of children who wear protective eyewear, such as safety glasses or goggles, is staggeringly low (15%). Here are some important statistics and recommendations regarding sports-related eye injuries in children from the Vision Council:
- Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children between the ages of 11 and 14-years-old. The majority of these eye injuries occur while children are playing sports
- Sports-related eye injuries include bruises of the eyelid, corneal abrasions, internal bleeding and retinal detachments
- Boys between the ages of 11 and 15 are as much as five times as likely to sustain a sports-related eye injury that requires hospital care as girls in the same age bracket
- Current estimates suggest that sports-related eye injuries account for more than 100,000 physician visits per year
- Approximately 1.6 to 2.4 million Americans sustain eye injuries each year. 40,000 of these individuals will become legally blind in their injured eye
To mitigate these dangers, the Vision Council recommends that parents and caregivers insist that children wear safety goggles or glasses whenever they play sports. Protective eyewear should meet the impact standards prescribed by the American Standards for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Protective lenses should also be made from polycarbonate materials because they are able to withstand the highest level of impact protection. To learn more about purchasing protective eyewear for your child, visit your local sporting goods store or speak directly with your eyecare professional.
If you have a question or concern about an eye injury that your child sustained, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
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