August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month! This month, Intermountain Eye Centers is answering common questions parents have about their children’s eye health.
When should children receive their first eye exam?
Parents should have their children’s eyes examined during well-child visits starting at around age three. During this exam, your child’s eye doctor will look for refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism), as well as other common childhood eye conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), ptosis (drooping eyelid), and color deficiency (color blindness).
If you notice any warning signs that your child has vision problems, there’s no need to wait for an annual exam – schedule an appointment ASAP!
What are the warning signs of vision problems in children?
Your child may have vision problems if they experience:
- Crossed or wandering eyes
- Frequent blinking or eye rubbing
- Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects
- Covering one eye
- Squinting or turning their head while watching television
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to schedule them for an eye exam.
My child injured their eye while playing. What should I do?
Don’t delay! Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. If you suspect your child has injured their eye, bring them to a doctor as soon as possible.
To avoid injury, make sure to purchase age-appropriate toys and avoid toys with sharp edges. Many eye injuries occur during sports – because of this, children should wear the proper protective eyewear when participating.
Is screen time harming my child’s vision?
Yes and no. On one hand, spending too much time in front of a computer, iPad, or television can make your child more likely to develop myopia, or nearsightedness. On the other hand, myopia can also develop if your child spends too much time reading books, making crafts, or participating in other near work activities.
In other words, screens themselves aren’t dangerous – the problem arises when children engage in near work activities without taking regular breaks. Ophthalmologists recommend taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes to reduce eyestrain.
Any other questions?
Intermountain Eye Centers is happy to answer any questions you might have about keeping your children’s vision healthy. To set up an appointment, contact us today!