Children’s Eye Health and Safety

More than 12 million children suffer from visual impairment.

Vision problems affect one in twenty preschoolers and one in four school-aged children.

Vision problems can begin at an early age; therefore it is important that children receive proper eye care. Untreated problems can worsen and lead to permanent vision loss and delayed development.

Because it is possible for your child to have a serious vision problem without being aware of it, infants should be screened for common eye problems during their regular pediatric appointments. Vision testing should be conducted for all children starting at age 3 for:

  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Amblyopia (lazy aye)
  • Ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid)
  • Color deficiency (color blindness)
  • Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism)

If there is a family history of vision problems or if your child appears to have any of the above conditions, speak to your eye M.D. promptly about when and how often your child’s eyes should be examined. Vision problems in children can be serious, but if caught in time and treated early, your child’s good vision can be protected.

Many toys present a hidden danger to your child’s eyes. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding parts like paint or pellet guns, or rifles and darts. Make sure toys and gifts are appropriate for your child’s age and maturity level.

Eye injuries continue to threaten your child’s sight as he or she ages. Sports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children. To protect your child, make sure he or she wears appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses or shields when playing on the field, in the yard or on the court.

Help to ensure that your child’s eyes remain healthy and injury-free. Have them visit an Eye M.D. regularly and make sure their eyes are protected when playing sports.

An Eye M.D. is an ophthalmologist — a medical doctor who provides the full spectrum of eye and vision care. From eyeglasses and contact lenses to medication and surgery, your Eye M.D. will help you keep your sight for life.

Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Ophthalmology®