Eye Health and Safety for Children
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Vision plays a vital role in children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. More than one in five preschool-age children enrolled in Head Start have a vision disorder. Early detection and treatment are critical. Most experts agree that eye exams, performed during regular well-child visits, help protect a child’s vision and provide useful information about their eye health. A child’s eye health begins at birth with an evaluation by a pediatrician. But if a child has a family history of vision or eye problems or has symptoms, they may need to have an official eye exam. Even if there are no risk factors of eye problems, all children need their vision checked at 6 months, 3 years, and before starting first grade. The symptoms of vision problems in children include poor school performance, difficulty when reading and writing and trouble seeing information on the chalk board. Eye problems in children may include strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes, commonly known as being cross-eyed. Most common eye problems are refractive errors, or what we know as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. All three are corrected with the use of glasses in children. Eye safety is also important. One of the most common eye injuries for kids is getting hit in the eye with an object, like a ball, rock, or an elbow. Getting something in the eye, like dust or sand, is also common. Wash the child’s eyes out with water and call their doctor. Good eye health involves eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough physical activity, washing your hands before putting them near your eyes, and wearing protective gear during sports activities. Through regular eye exams, a healthy diet and eye safety measures, our eyes can last a lifetime!  The Nurse

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