Children’s Eye Health and Safety month occurs while parents are getting children ready for back to school. Many children get physicals at this time of year, and vision screening should be part of this check up. These screenings are usually checking for cataracts, checking eye movement and eye alignment, and having a child reading from a chart to check for nearsightedness and farsightedness. The American Optometric Association recommends vision screenings in children before the age of 1, and at 3 and 5 years. Unfortunately, some insurance programs don’t include vision screenings.
Children can be put at a disadvantage in school if they have a vision problem that is not diagnosed and treated. Parents and teachers should look for the signs of eye problems in children: (from Children’s Vision Information Network)
- Difficulty copying from the chalkboard
- Headaches that accompany reading and writing
- Burning, itching, watery eyes
- Holds books (or objects) close to eyes
- Tilts head to read
- Bumps into things, knocks things over
Some schools provide vision screenings each year for students, and if a problem is found parents are notified. If you do not have insurance coverage for vision screenings either with a pediatrician, optometrist or opthamologist, The Prevent Blindness America Organization has a list of specific vision programs and a list for individual states.
Do you have a child with vision problems? How was the diagnosis made?