For Wausau (OnFocus) – Across the country, children will soon start a new school year and healthy vision will be key to a successful year. As a child grows, an untreated eye condition becomes more difficult to correct. These can worsen and lead to other serious problems as well as affect reading ability, focus, behavior, personality and social adjustments. Vision problems that can affect children include amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes) and – most commonly – myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).
“Making sure your child gets in for an eye exam early will help us to detect any issues and help prevent vision loss later in life,” said Dustin Wasylik, DO, ophthalmologist for Aspirus.
The earlier a vision disorder can be identified and treated, the stronger start a child will have. Wasylik says a child may be at higher risk of developing a vision problem if he or she:
- Was born prematurely (less than 32 weeks completed gestation).
- Has a family history of vision problems (such as childhood cataract, lazy eye, misaligned eyes, or eye tumors) or wore glasses before first grade.
- Has had an eye injury as these can cause problems to develop much later in life.
- Has been diagnosed with a problem that could affect his or her physical, mental or emotional development.
During Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, parents are reminded of the importance of protecting your child from eye injuries. Wasylik urges parents to take these helpful precautions to protect their children’s vision:
- Be toy smart. Buy only age-appropriate toys no matter how appealing you think a toy might be for your youngster. Steer clear of toys that shoot or include parts that fly off, especially for children younger than five years old.
- Keep an eye out for sports injuries. See that your child wears the appropriate face mask or safety goggles for their sport. Prescription glasses aren’t enough to protect their eyes.
- Don’t let your child play with fireworks. The best way to avoid the serious eye injuries fireworks can cause is to enjoy them only at a professional display.
- Make your home safe. Pad or cushion sharp corners to protect newly mobile children, and use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
“Every year thousands of children nationwide experience eye injuries – and some are even blinded,” Wasylik said. “Protecting your child from preventable accidents is so important.”
For more information about eye care and our eye care clinics at Aspirus, visit aspirus.org/eye-care-surgery.
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