The Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology emphasize the importance of healthy vision and its correlation with academic success. The organizations have a few crucial tips in checking up on eye health for your kids.
First, it is important to get regular vision screenings during childhood. The Academy suggests getting further vision screenings at pre-school age, when your child is entering school and whenever your child is experiencing vision problems. Pediatricians, family physicians, nurses and trained technicians may perform a vision screening, which is less comprehensive than a dilated eye examination, during any regular checkup.
Second, knowing and sharing your family eye health history with the person performing your child’s screening is crucial. Problems such as nearsightedness, cross-eye and lazy eye can cause issues such as permanent vision loss in one eye if not treated in childhood.
Third, parents should be aware of any signs that could indicate eye or vision problems. This could include complaints of eyestrain, headaches and squinting when reading or performing other day-to-day activities. Additional problems include a white or grayish-white coloring in the pupil, one eye that turns in or out, or eyes that do not track together.
Finally, it is important to wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Children who play racket sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball or basketball could be at risk of eye injury. Getting smacked with an elbow during a basketball game or being hit with a hockey stick can cause serious damage. Parents can consider having their kids wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear to protect their children’s’ vision.