Congrats to Julia!
In order to catch visual problems before they impact a student’s success, motivation, and love for learning – children should have their first comprehensive eye exam as early as 6 months, at 3 years, before starting kindergarten, and every year after. (Note - In school screenings will not provide the same level of detection)."
Here are the results from my Q&A with VSP Provider Dr. Jing Han of Healthy Eyes Optometry (http://www.healthyeyesod.com/).
1) What are early signs to watch for in young children that may indicate that a child has vision problems?
"Recent studies show that twenty percent of school-age children are affected by vision problems that can pose a significant threat to learning. Therefore, it’s essential that parents know signs that indicate a child may be suffering from an underlying vision problem.
Children who are having trouble seeing will often times squint while looking at distant objects or hold a book close to their eyes to in order to read. They may not realize they are doing this, and most likely have no choice in order to see. Many parents make the mistake of trying to correct the problem by forcing them to hold their books further out prior to consulting an Optometrist. These symptoms may indicate nearsightedness or farsightedness, which can be treated with corrective glasses. Additional signs include frequent rubbing of the eyes or complaining of headaches.
One of the most serious signals of a vision problem is when a child's eye drifts out of alignment with the other. It's especially important to correct this disorder — known as amblyopia, or "lazy eye,” which can affect a child’s ability to keep up in class.
Another common sign is when a child closes one eye to see objects better. This habit could signal the presence of a vision-distorting astigmatism or other vision deficiency."
2) Is it safe for children to wear contacts during sports? If so, at what age can children begin wearing contacts? What is the best way to protect children’s eyes during sports?
"Doctors generally fit children as young as seven years old with contacts, which are safe to wear during sports. However, contacts require responsibility for cleaning and changing and do not protect the eyes against sports related injuries.
Every thirteen minutes, a child goes to the emergency room due to a sports-related eye injury. So, the best way to help protect kids’ eyes while playing sports is to provide them with sports-certified, protective eyewear made specifically to withstand impact and provide UV protection. It’s recommended that even if a child chooses to wear contacts, that he or she also wears protective sports goggles.
As for a specific frame, talk with your eye doctor about what fits best for your child’s sport and visit the VSP Center for more information https://www.vsp.com/cms/edc/articles/sports-safety.html"
3) What amount of TV/computer time is safe for a child/teen's eyes? What are the effects of too much TV/Computer time? How can children avoid these effects?
"Too much time spent using digital devices, from watching TV, playing video games, or working on a computer, can often cause a condition called digital eyestrain, or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is defined as “any number of eye or vision-related problems that can occur from computer use.” The symptoms include: blurry vision, difficulty focusing, dry and irritated eyes, headaches, and even neck and back pain.
To avoid these symptoms, eye doctors recommend consistent breaks. The “20/20/20 Rule” is an easy way to remember this. Every 20 minutes, stop and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Also, it is important to set time limits for the maximum amount of “screen time.” It’s recommended that children under two years have no screen time and older children have less than two hours per day. Because children won’t keep track of this, parents must set limits in advance and monitor the time."
4) How often should a child visit the optometrist?
"Children should have their first comprehensive eye exam as early as 6 months, at 3 years, before starting kindergarten, and every year after. Annual, comprehensive eye exams help to detect underlying vision problems which can have a major impact on their learning and success in the classroom."
Win It: One lucky ABCD Diaries will receive a VSP experience which includes an exam at a VSP doctor (you can find a doc near you at http://www.vsp.com/) and a Lens/Frame (or contacts in lieu of lenses and frame). The frame/lens allowance is $130 allowance -or- a $130 allowance towards contact lenses/fitting. Below please see a list of covered lens options…
-Tints and Dyes
-Scratch resistant coating
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Giveaway ends Monday, August 29, 2011 at 11:59cst. Winner will be chosen via random.org and emailed. They will have 48 hours to reply. Open to US residents 18+:) No PO Boxes
Disclosure: ABCD Diaries was in no way compensated for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.