The Importance of Good Eye Health for Children
Friday, September 14, 2018 3:32 PM
For children, good eye health is important, in part, because 80 percent of what they learn is through their eyes, UnitedHealthcare chief eyecare officer Linda Chous, OD, wrote in a recent article
According to the post, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that a child receive a comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 6 months and 12 months, again at age 3 and before entering school at age 5 or 6.
Yet, research indicates that more than one-third of Americans incorrectly believe children should receive a first comprehensive eye exam at age five or later, according to the findings of a recent UnitedHealthcare survey.
Chous noted in the article that “the inability to see clearly can affect a child's physical, emotional and social development, which in turn can affect academic and athletic performance and, ultimately, self-esteem. Many times children are unaware and won't complain if their vision isn't normal, so it's important to look for possible signs of vision problems.”
It's important to remember, she also explained, that “a school's vision screening is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.”
Here are some signs, according to the post, that indicate a child may have some form of vision impairment, and should schedule a comprehensive eye examination:
- Difficulty hitting or catching a ball: If your child regularly misses or drops the ball, it's possible that vision impairment might be affecting hand-eye coordination. This could also be due to a lazy eye, otherwise known as amblyopia. Amblyopia is when one eye is favored over the other, which can affect depth perception, making it difficult to assess objects in front of you.
- Squinting while reading or watching television: Ask your child if the text or screen is blurry or if reading gives them a headache. A "yes" answer could indicate an underlying vision problem.
- Issues watching 3D movies: 3D movies require eyes to work together as a team to process information, so difficulty viewing 3D content can be a sign of underlying vision issues. After watching a 3D movie, look to see if your child feels any discomfort or dizziness, or is unable to process 3D content.
Chous also advised parents to watch for digital eye strain, which is caused by prolonged use of computers, smartphones or tablets. This eye strain can cause symptoms such as sore, tired, watery or dry eyes, headache, or sore neck, shoulder or back.