How To Know if Your Child Needs Glasses

by MikeMeehan 6/20/2017 9:44 AM

Signs of vision problems in children can go undetected. Children, since they don’t have a comparison, will not always be able to tell that something is wrong with their vision. They’ll think the color or degree of clarity is normal. And since, from the child’s perspective, they don’t know anything is wrong, the vision problem might manifest itself in a different way such as a struggle with or avoidance of reading. Let’s look at ways to detect and recognize if your child is having vision problems. And then, whether you’ve noticed any of these signs or not, taking your children to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor will give you peace of mind that their eyes are healthy. Possible signs your child has a vision problem Squinting – If your child is squinting a lot, it could be a sign of trying to focus. Rubbing eyes frequently – This is normal behavior from a tired child, but it could be a sign of eye strain, eye fatigue or other vision problems. Notice what kind of activity your child is doing when the sign is displayed. This will help determine if they are struggling or just tired. Covering or closing one eye – Your child might do this in an attempt to focus and could be a sign of misaligned eyes. Tilting head – Tilting of the head is another way your child might try to fix misaligned eyes or the angle of vision. Both signs, covering one eye or tilting the head, could also be a sign of amblyopia, a vision condition also called lazy eye. It’s one of the most common vision problems in children. Sitting close to the TV/ holding books or electronic devices close to the face – This could be a sign of nearsightedness, or myopia. Again your child could be trying to correct blurry vision. Also, just like adults, children can experience digital eye strain. Tripping or bumping into things – If your child is walking into objects that you and the rest of the family aren’t, this could be an indicator of a vision problem. Sometimes a child with poor vision can be overlooked as just clumsy. Avoiding reading – What may appear to be disinterest, could be a reaction to poor vision. When reading together, if your child has a difficult time following along with you, or loses their place while reading, this could be a sign. If there is a lack of concentration or avoidance of schoolwork all together, this could be a reaction to a vision problem. Signs could be more obvious – your child might have headaches or tell you their eyes hurt. This would especially make sense if conveyed at the end of the day, after eyes are strained all day to focus and correct blurry vision. A comprehensive eye exam for children is so important because, as the American Optometric Association states, early detection and treatment “provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems.” 

The Coolest Way to Maintain Your Vision Health

by MikeMeehan 5/30/2017 1:13 PM

Wearing sunglasses is one of the coolest ways to maintain your vision health. It’s such a good idea, the National Eye Institute (NIH) included wearing sunglasses as one of their five recommendations for Healthy Vision Month, along with getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Exposing your eyes to the sun’s strong rays can cause severe damage and lead to a lot of different problems. Keeping sunglasses on is an easy way to protect yourself and your family, just make sure you purchase the right kind. Protect your eyes from these scary conditions Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the sun’s rays damaging the cornea, lens, retina and other parts of your eyes. UV exposure for many hours or over the years can cause serious eye damage, eye conditions or worsen the symptoms of these conditions. Certain types of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration have all been linked to extended exposure to ultraviolet rays. The NIH reports that 20% of cataract cases are caused by extended UV exposure. Cataracts and macular degeneration can result in vision loss. Other conditions include pingueculae, pterygium and photokeratitis. Pingueculae and pterygium are both growths on your eye’s conjunctiva (the clear covering over the white part of your eye). Photokeratitis, also called snow blindness, is like having sunburned eyes, or more technically, a sunburned cornea. But even though it has the alternative name of snow blindness, you don’t need to be around snow to develop the condition. Photokeratitis, caused by overexposure to UV rays, is painful and results in a temporary loss of vision. These all sound terrible, but we know they can be prevented with proper sunglasses. Now let’s make sure you’re getting the protection you need by choosing the right kind of sunglasses. Choose wisely, check labels When deciding what sunglasses to buy, choose a pair that blocks out 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Also, consider a pair that wraps around your eyes to provide more coverage. Polarized lenses are a popular choice because they reduce glare, especially useful when you’re around water or snow. But still make sure they have the 100% UV protection. With sunglasses that have dark tinted lens, still look for a 100% UV protection label, because a dark lens doesn’t always mean protection. It’s the material of the lens or the way the lens are treated that make them block the UV rays. Similarly, the price doesn’t guarantee UV protection either. So don’t assume an expensive pair has the protection you need or an inexpensive pair doesn’t have the protection you need. Overall, make sure they fit properly so you’re getting as much protection from the harmful rays as possible. And if you aren’t sure your sunglasses have the proper UV protection, use your eye doctor as a resource. Still need protection on cloudy days Even though the summer has arrived and the sun is bursting, remember to wear your sunglasses not only in the warm months but throughout the year. You might not think to grab your sunglasses when it’s overcast, but the sun’s rays can be just as harmful on cloudy days, too. If you haven’t already, create the habit of putting on your sunglasses every time you walk outside, and make sunglasses a part of your healthy vision lifestyle. We wish you a happy summer!

The Link Between Family History and Your Vision

by MikeMeehan 5/23/2017 10:37 AM

I remember learning in school how eye color is determined by the dominant and recessive genes of our parents. Remember the chart we filled in with uppercase and lowercase letters? But when it comes to your vision, you might share more than your parents’ eye color. You could have inherited an eye disease. Just like it’s important to know your family’s medical history for heart and other diseases, it’s the same for your family’s eye health history, suggests the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The National Eye Institute (NIH) recommends talking to family members including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Since some eye diseases are passed down, knowing your family’s eye health history could help determine if you are high risk. May is Healthy Vision Month and knowing your family’s eye health history is one of the five steps the NIH recommends to keep your eyes healthy, along with getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam, using protective eyewear, wearing sunglasses, and living a healthy lifestyle. What to know Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are hereditary and two of the leading causes of blindness in adults, but they don’t have early stage symptoms. The Glaucoma Research Foundation states that your risk of glaucoma with increase four to nine times if the disease exists in your family history. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you have a “50 percent chance of developing AMD” if the disease runs in your family. In addition, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism are common vision problems that have been linked to genetics. What to do Have a discussion with your family. Get regular eye exams, and talk to your vision care provider. After sharing your family’s eye health history with the doctor, she will be able to look for any signs of potential problems. Be proactive about your eye health and overall health. Staying fit and eating fruits and vegetables, like leafy greens, will keep you and your eyes healthy. Wearing sunglasses and being aware of eye strain, if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen or other electronic devices, are also proactive ways to keep your eyes healthy. While you figure out where your green eyes came from, learn about your family’s eye health history. You’ll be one step closer to healthy vision.

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