August is Children's Eye Health & Safety Month
Making sure that your child’s vision and eyes are developing properly is important because basic visual skills are necessary as they are growing and learning. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, an infant should receive a vision screening in the newborn period and at all well child visits. Regular vision screening is important because (1) many children with vision problems may not show any signs of a problem, and (2) undetected vision problems in children can lead to permanent visual loss. This vision loss, called amblyopia, can often be corrected but only if detected and treated during the early years of life. It is easier to correct a problem if treatment begins early.
Parents should watch for any signs of vision and eye problems in their children. These problems can range from the appearance of the eyes, how the child is acting, or things they are saying.“All children should have the opportunity to develop their best possible vision that is why checks on vision should be a part of routine health care throughout childhood,” says Jean Ramsey, MD MPH, Associate Professor for Ophthalmology and Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs at Boston University School of Medicine.
The following are symptoms of eye and vision problems:
- Eyes are crossed or they look in opposite directions
- Eyes are watery or constantly tearing
- Eyelids are swollen or red
- A child is closing or covering one eye, rubbing eyes often, squinting in order to see, or starts blinking more than usual
- A child has trouble doing close-up activities such as reading
- A child is complaining that things they’re seeing are blurry, that their eyes are burning or itchy, or that they feel dizzy, sick, or get a headache when doing a close up activity
If you suspect your child has an eye problem, talk with your child’s primary care provider and schedule an appointment with an eye care provider (ophthalmologist or optometrist).
To make an appointment with the Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology at BMC, call 617.414.4020 or visit bmc.org/ophthalmology for more information.
To watch a video on the importance of eye care, visit http://childrensvision.preventblindness.org/open-eyes-open-doors.