During the month of August, parents are encouraged to learn how to protect their child’s eyesight and save their vision through regular eye exams, early detection, and treatment.
Get the Facts.
- 1 in 20 children ages 3 to 5 have a vision problem that could result in permanent vision loss.
- 80 percent of preschoolers do not receive an eye screening.
- About 100,000 sports-related eye injuries happen every day, where one-third of these injuries occur in children under age 16.
- 60 percent of children with learning difficulties have an undetected vision problem.
- Vision problems in children include, but are not limited to, frequently rubbing eyes, closing or covering one eye, and tilting the head or thrusting the head forward.
Signs to Look For
Parents are often the first to notice vision problems in a young child. A vision exam may be needed if your child:
- Is clumsy (beyond normal toddler clumsiness) and fails to notice new things around him or her.
- Rubs his or her eyes when the child is not tired (rubbing eyes when tired is normal).
- Squints when the light is turned on or stares at lights.
- Has excessive tearing when not crying.
- Has frequent eye infections, swollen eyelids, or frequent styes. Conjunctivitis (pinkeye) is a common problem in children.
- Has eyes that seem to bulge, bounce, or dance in rapid regular movements.
- Often tilts the head to one side as though trying to see better.
- Avoids tasks or play that requires good vision, like looking at books, or holds books or toys too close, or sits too close to the TV screen.
- Has eyes that look mismatched or crossed or that don’t move together.
- Has pupils that are not the same size or that appear white instead of black.
- Protect your children from sports-related eye injuries using protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses.
- Early detection of vision conditions is crucial. Children should have an eye exam beginning at 6 months.
- See a doctor immediately if you detect red flags, such as uneven focus, lazy eye, or crossed eyes.
- Make sure children play with age-appropriate toys and take frequent breaks while using digital devices.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommend that all children have an eye exam during the newborn period and again at all routine well-child visits.
The AAO recommends that vision screening start around age 3 and occur each year at ages 4 and 5. After age 5, the AAO recommends screening every 1 to 2 years.
Find a Doctor
Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information. Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.