Keeping Our Children’s Eyes Safe and Healthy This Back-to-School Season
August 8, 2022
By Mary Kane
Originally posted on Vision Monday
With only a few weeks left in the month of August, summer will be winding down soon which means parents and kids alike are gearing up for the back-to-school season, or as some parents like to call it, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For the national non-profit Prevent Blindness, August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, which fits nicely into the organization’s theme—2022 is the “Year of Children’s Vision.”
Without early detection and treatment, uncorrected vision disorders can impair child development, interfere with learning, and even lead to permanent vision loss, which is why Prevent Blindness is offering a wide variety of free resources, including educational tool kits, fact sheets and other information to help keep children’s eyes healthy and ensure that children are ready to learn and succeed in school, activities and development.
The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has an extensive library of free informational resources about vision health for children from infants to teens. Programs for professionals include the “Small Steps for Big Vision” tool kit, vision screening certification training, children’s vision and eye health data and reports, facts sheets in multiple languages and shareable social media graphics.
Available this month, Prevent Blindness and the NCCVEH will offer the following:
- A new episode in the online Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Partnering with School Nurses for Children’s Vision and Eye Health.” Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, interviews Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE, FNASN, executive director of National Association of School Nurses.
- A free webinar, “Vision Screening: Birth Through High School,” presented by Kay Nottingham Chaplin, EdD, education and outreach coordinator at Prevent Blindness. The first in a two-part series, the session will be held Aug. 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
- Two Facebook Live discussions with BlackDoctor.org, in partnership with the Children’s Vision Equity Alliance: “Children’s Eye Safety” on Aug. 16 and the “Healthy Kids Summit” on Aug. 23.
- An updated Star Pupils: Healthy Eyes for Healthy Futures Curriculum for educators. The free materials include a teacher classroom presentation guide, reference eye exam diagram and in-class worksheets (includes coloring and activity sheets).
- Presentations and video recordings from “The Children’s Vision Forum” session held at the 2022 Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit. Stacy Ayn Lyons, OD, FAAO, New England College of Optometry moderated presentations from parents, patients, educator.
In keeping with the back-to-school theme, Lighthouse Guild, which provide coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation and behavioral health as well as related services, has come up with a few important common sense tips to help safeguard children’s eye health.
Get regular vision screenings—“Vision health is one of the keys to success in school, and the most important thing you can do to protect your child’s vision is to make sure they get an eye exam,” said Dr. Laura Sperazza, director of Vision Rehabilitation Services at Lighthouse Guild. “An eye health professional can determine if your child needs eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if there is a vision problem that requires further intervention.”
Eat Your Carrots—Encourage your child to eat a well-balanced diet loaded with different types of fruits and veggies, as well as fish.
Speak Up—Ask you child to let you know if they notice any vision changes. For instance, if their vision is blurry, they are squinting a lot, or their eyes start bothering them.
Wear Your Glasses—Help your child understand the importance of wearing their eyeglasses. If they are resistant because they believe glasses are unattractive, try pointing out sports figures and other well-known people who wear glasses. Talk with them about how to clean and store their glasses.
Rest Your Eyes—Looking continuously at a computer, phone or TV screen can tire eyes. Encourage your child to take a break from staring at the screen.
Wear Safety Gear—Make sure your child wears goggles or other types of protective eye wear while playing sports, using chemicals or tools for school projects, or engaging in other activities. Many eye injuries can be prevented with better safety habits.
Protecting Kids Eyes
Eyesafe and UnitedHealthcare recently announced the release of How to Save Your Eyes in the Digital Age—a comprehensive resource on blue light, screen time, health and electronics, authored by globally recognized eyecare professionals, researchers and industry experts. The expanded 2nd edition includes chapters from key opinion leaders at Dell, Lenovo, LG Display, AMD and more, and features new guidance for device usage in the workplace and schools. Here’s a look at what’s inside this e-book.
- Key research and studies
- Perspectives from eyecare professionals
- Screen time and children
- Gaming and AR
- Guidance for manufacturers
- Regulatory landscape
- Display standards
- Best-in-class product solutions
From research to regulatory actions, this handbook leaves no rock unturned as it seeks to address global concerns over rising screen time and blue light exposure. A handy resource for electronics, health care, employers, educators and eyecare professionals, this FREE eBook explains everything you need to know to thrive in the digital age.