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Childrens Eye Health & Safety Month

August brings around another important event in youth welfare. Children’s Eye Health and safety month is a multi-organizational drive intended to stop preventable damage to the eyes of children. A child’s vision is paramount to his or her ability to succeed, not half evidenced by the fact that eighty percent of classroom education is taught visually. Despite this, many children end up with some form of damage to their eyes and vision that severely hinders their education and quality of life. Poor vision can affect much more than a child’s education alone. It can also severely threaten their self esteem, athletic ability, and even their social experience.

The simplest solution, of course, is prevention. Key to that maintenance and protection of your child’s eyes is regular checks at the pediatrician’s and optician or optometrist’s office. In addition, keeping an eye out for warning signs can do you no harm. If your child has a tendency to rub their eyes, squint, move their head for a better view of most objects, have wandering eyes, or squeeze their eyes, you should definitely contact a medical professional who can make sure your child’s eyes are in good condition.

There is an absolute myriad of potential maladies that can impair your child’s vision. These include Amblyopia, or lazy eye, Strabismus, which is crossed eyes, color blindness, and refractive errors, which can be broken down into the more commonly known terms nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. These compose just the most frequent of the potential dangers that threaten a child’s vision daily.

Disease, however, is not the only threat to a child’s ability to see. Accidents negatively impact thousands of children’s eyes yearly. The vast majority of these accidents, over ninety percent, are fully preventable. Proper protective eyewear is key to the welfare of a child’s vision, and by proxy their future quality of life. Some usual situations in which a child’s eyes are at risk and in need of protection include sports and recreational activities, as well as toy use and proximity to fireworks. These preventative measures are not exclusive, and many others follow suit.

First, long-term, all purchased toys for children should comply with safety standards, specifically the ones set by ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials. It is important to keep in mind that corrective lenses, such as contact, lenses, do not provide adequate protection from physical eye injury. If one of these injuries occurs despite the taking of proper precautions, the following rules should be adhered to. Firstly, the child should be prohibited from touching their injured eye in any way, shape or form. No one who is not a medical professional should be allowed to apply medication to the eye, and -in the case of a chemical injury- the eye should be thoroughly flushed with water. In addition, medical attention should be sought immediately for all of these injuries. This August, let’s make sure we do all we can to keep our children’s eyes safe.

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