Health & Wellness Blog
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Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
Posted by Scott filed under Child Wellness
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Held during the “back to school,” time to year, Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is meant to encourage parents to ensure they’re up to date on their child’s eye safety before sending them off to school. This August, along with buying notebooks, pens, pencils, and other school supplies, parents everyone should see what they can do to protect their children's sight. If your children will be learning on line, screen time management has just been added to your to do list (or your child’s if they are a little older).
Pediatric optometrists observe that exposure to natural daylight is needed, especially for younger children and developing eyes (as always, be sure to protect from intense sunlight). The potential extended screen time for younger students without regular outdoor recess time presents a greater risk for myopia, or nearsightedness. Additionally, eyes need routine breaks from the screen exposure. A good rule of thumb is the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes your student should look away from the screen for at least 20 seconds and focus on something at least 20 feet away. By the way, adults should follow this practice, too.
Protecting Children’s Sight
Eye problems and eye injuries can occur from a variety of places. Too much exposure from the sun can lead to vision problems and falls or misuse of toys can lead to eye injuries. Here are some tips to protect your child’s eyes:
- If your house has stairs, install safety gates at the top and the bottom
- Make sure any stairs have handrails
- Look out for any sharp edges on furniture and other things in your home. If you see any, try to pad them
- If you have any paints, fertilizers, or other chemicals, keep them stored somewhere your kids cannot get to
- Store kitchen utensils, desk supplies, and cosmetics somewhere children can’t get to
- Make sure your kids are eating well balanced, healthy, nutritious meals
- Protect your child’s eyes from the sun by keeping them in the shade. If your child needs to spend a lot of time in the sun, consider getting them sunglasses that can protect their eyes from UV radiation, as UV rays can cause cataracts.
- Be sure to read all the labels and warnings on toys before letting your child play with them
- Be sure to keep an eye on children, especially younger children, when they’re playing with toys
- Make sure your children are wearing proper protective gear when playing sports
- Avoid any toys with sharp edges or spikes
- Only give your kids toys that are age appropriate; avoid toys that are meant for older children
- When driving in a car, be sure to use child seatbelts and booster seats. If your kids are younger than twelve, you should keep them in the backseat. Be sure any loose items are stored in the trunk or secured down.
- Be sure to take your child to get their eyes checked regularly by a medical professional. If your family have a history of eye problems, be sure to have your child’s eyes checked more often.
One other thing to do is regular eye exams. Make this part of your family’s healthcare schedule. It might be apparent when your child’s eyes are irritated or tired. However, a regular eye exam helps identify vision problems earlier.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). “How Can I Protect My Children From the Sun?” Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/children.htm
Cleveland Clinic. “Protecting Your Child’s Vision.” Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10799-protecting-your-childs-vision
Prevent Blindness. “Protecting young children from eye injuries at home and at play.” Retrieved from: https://www.preventblindness.org/protecting-young-children-eye-injuries-home-and-play
Your Sight Matters. “August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.” Retrieved from: https://yoursightmatters.com/august-childrens-eye-health-safety-month/