The arrival of August signals that the end of summer is near. School will be starting soon. Parents start shopping for school supplies and scheduling back-to-school physicals. One of the basic checks included in a physical will be eye screenings. About 1 in 4 children has an eye problem and screenings will help identify such problems as nearsightedness and farsightedness. It is a good rule of thumb to start having your child’s eyes checked around age three. Your child’s provider will look for these following problems:
- Amblyopia – lazy eye
- Strabismus – crossed eyes
- Ptosis – drooping lid
- Color blindness
If the provider is concerned about your child’s eyes, an appointment with an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) will be needed. Be sure to inform the eye doctor of problems that you may have seen like a wandering eye, frequent eye rubbing during reading, holding the head at a funny angle to read or see things in the distance, or eye problems that may run in the family.
As school returns, so will some sporting activities. Eye protection during these activities is very important. There are about 42,000 sports-related eye injuries each year, mostly in children. Eye injuries can happen in regular play as well. They can be avoided by remembering a couple of basic practices:
- All children should wear appropriate safety eyewear during sporting and recreational activities.
- Purchase age-appropriate toys for your children and avoid toys that have sharp or pointy parts that stick out.
- Avoid toys that shoot out projectiles which can damage an eye.
As the new school year approaches, it is time to think about getting our kids ready for it by helping to ensure a successful year by getting them to their checkups. You can read more about eye health at The American Academy Ophthalmology: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/resources/articles