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With August in full swing, you’re probably helping your kids gear up for back to school, buying school supplies and making sure they have everything to start the year off right. There is one important thing you may be forgetting about though – your child’s eye health! August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month and it marks a time to make sure your child is getting regular eye exams amongst other safe practices to ensure healthy vision for back to school.

Your child’s vision is an essential part of school success which is why it’s time to start thinking about taking them to have their eyes examined. Kids should see an optometrist at least once a year to ensure good eye health and vision. Additionally, your child should have their very first eye exam by the time they turn 3 years old. This will help your eye doctor address any current or developing issues with their vision. Some things to look for are:

-Farsightedness

-Nearsightedness

-Color blindness

Your eye doctor will be able to address if your child needs glasses or contacts and how frequently they need to be worn. If these issues are addressed early on in life, they will be easier to correct through different treatment options. It’s important to be observing your child to see if they may have vision problems. If they are constantly squinting, or tilting their head when watching television, they may have vision problems. Try asking their teachers how your child behaves in class. If they show no interested in reading or have trouble reading anything written at the front of the classroom, this could also be signs of a vision problem. Addressing these issues will help your child succeed overall in the classroom, having them learn information better as well as pay attention better in class.

While receiving an eye exam is a crucial part of eye health and safety, there are other things you can do to make sure your child is taking good care of their eyes. If your child does wear contacts, watch closely to see if they are using their contacts appropriately. They should be following the doctor recommendations on wear time. If your child is in a daily disposable contact lens, they should open a fresh pair daily. If they are fitted in a two-week lens, they need to replace the lenses every two weeks, etc. It is also good practice to take their contacts out at night to prevent infections that could arise from overwearing of contact lenses, called Contact Lens Overwear Syndrome. Additionally, have them use fresh contact solution daily if they are not in daily disposable contact lenses.

Take proper precautions to prevent eye injury. If you have a small child, buy age-appropriate toys and ones that do not have any sharp or pointy ends. If your child is very active outdoors or plays sports, make sure they are using protective eye gear when needed, and especially if they are ever around fireworks. Most protective eyewear is made of a light-weight polycarbonate. If injury does occur, they should not touch or rub their eye or apply medication to it. If something gets in the eye such as a chemical, try flushing it with water and then seeking medical attention as soon as possible. In the event of any type of eye injury, always visit your optometrist to be further evaluated.

At Kentucky Eye Institute, we offer a variety of services to protect your child’s vision and correct any problems they may be experiencing. We want your child to start the school year off right – with healthy vision that will help them succeed. Schedule their appointment with a trusted eye doctor today at one of our many locations across the Commonwealth.