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I hope you all had a nice, healthy summer. As everyone with children gets settled back into another school year, I thought it would be fitting to discuss eye care for kids.
Most children get a screening visual acuity test when they start school. If a childs vision is not within normal range then a letter is sent home to the parents advising them to make an appointment for their child to see an eye doctor for further evaluation. Pediatricians often check vision as part of a childs routine physical.
If it is recommended that your child have an eye exam please do not delay in making an appointment. Many eye problems can be corrected if they are caught early on.
Parents, if you notice a problem with your childrens eyes before they reach school age, please consult your pediatrician. Problems such as amblyopia (lazy eye) can be corrected if caught early. Symptoms such as one eye turning in or out occasionally or a toddler that is constantly bumping into objects should be checked by an eye doctor.
We frequently get questions from parents whose teenagers have come home with a friends contact lenses in their eyes. As you might imagine this is not healthy for the eyes. Contact lenses are medical devices and one size does not fit all. Think of the cornea, which is the part of the eye that a contact lens sits on, as a mountain and we all have different sizes with some mountains (corneas) being steeper than others.
It is very important that teenagers understand that if the contact lens has not been fitted to their cornea it can cause damage to the eye and in some cases leave permanent scarring. Cosmetic contact lenses that change the color of the eye still need to be fitted properly by an eye care professional.
Some common eye injuries that can occur with children are finger pokes, sometimes causing corneal abrasions. Other injuries include blows to the eye from flying objects such as balls, rocks and sticks. Fireworks, sling shots and BB guns can cause some of the most devastating injuries to the eye.
More harmful rays are reaching us from the sun. It is important to protect our eyes with sunglasses from ultraviolet light. Studies indicate that these harmful rays can cause some eye diseases such as cataracts. Make sure your children have sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. They do not have to be expensive. If they will not wear them, then make sure they wear a hat when outdoors in bright sunlight.
In closing, I would like to remind us all that children look to us to set the example. Eye safety begins with you. If your child sees you wearing safety glasses while working in the yard or with tools, then it will seem only natural for them to protect their eyes.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Until next time,
Laura Maroney, COT
ps: Buy your Contact Lenses on EyeSearch and help fight Global Blindness.
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