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Health Matters at Work ENews - August 2010

Children's Eye Health and Safety Month

More than 12.1 million school-age children, or one in four, have a vision impairment. Many vision problems begin at an early age. Most eye problems in children can be corrected if they are detected and treated early. Appropriate eye care is essential for maintaining good vision. Some problems, if left untreated even for a short period, can result in permanent vision loss.

The most common types of eye problems seen in children are:

•Myopia (nearsightedness)
•Stabismus (crossed eyes)
•Amblyopia (lazy eye)

A child’s eyes should be checked shortly after birth, before starting school and throughout the school years as needed.

Some of the signs your child might be experiencing impaired vision:

•Blurred or double vision
•Headaches or pain in the eyes
•Difficulty copying from board at school
•Holding books close to read or sitting close to the T.V.
•Squinting
•Sensitivity to light
•Burning, itching, watery or redness in eyes that is not explainable

While an evaluation at school is helpful, it is important you visit an eye care professional to correctly determine your child's vision acuity. An eye care professional can rule out various eye diseases and recommend corrective lenses if appropriate for your child.

Vision is just one aspect of your child’s eye health. Each year, thousands of children age five and under have eye injuries that occur at home, in the car and at play. Many toys present a hidden danger to your child's eyes. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding parts like paint or pellet guns, or rifles and darts. Make sure toys and gifts are appropriate for your child's age and maturity level. Keep items such as cosmetics, kitchen utensils and household cleaning products out of site.

Eye injuries continue to threaten your child's sight as he or she ages. Sports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children. To protect your child, make sure he or she wears appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses or shields when playing on the field, in the yard or on the court.

Help to ensure that your child's eyes remain healthy and injury-free. Have them visit an eye doctor regularly and make sure their eyes are protected when playing sports.

For more information visit www.preventblindnessamerica.org

Source: Prevent Blindness America


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