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Children's Vision Test Should Be Part of Parent's Back-to-School Preparations

August 14, 2009
Reinbeck Courier

DES MOINES, IA-With back-to-school planning in full swing for parents and children, one important item must be added to the checklist, a vision screening or an eye exam. Problems with vision can have a profoundly negative impact on a child's learning ability. If you haven't had your children to the eye doctor in the last several years, you -- and your children -- may be missing something.

Sadly, many children may not even realize that their vision is abnormal and grow up thinking that how they see is how everyone else sees. Children have great coping skills, so they may learn to function fairly well within that distortion -- until they get to school. In the classroom, vision problems can lead to difficulty when work is written on blackboards or computer screens. Self-image is fragile in children. It may be damaged by excessive frustration at school. If vision is the problem, proper correction can come just in time to prevent permanently negative attitudes toward school. Children who have struggled in the classroom really turn around -- both their attitude and their achievements -- when suddenly their vision is corrected.

Prevent Blindness Iowa, along with Prevent Blindness America, has declared August as Children's Eye Health and Safety Month in an effort to educate the public on the importance of quality eye care for children.

What can a parent do to help ensure that their children's eyes are healthy? Watch for the following signs:

What do your child's eyes look like? Eyes don't line up, one eye appears crossed or looks out. Eyelids are red-rimmed, crusted or swollen. Eyes are watery or red (inflamed). How does your child act? Rubs eyes a lot? Closes or covers one eye? Blinks more than usual? Squints eyes or frowns?

What does your child say?

"My eyes are itchy, my eyes are burning, or my eyes feel scratchy."

"I can't see that very well."

After doing close-up work, your child says "I feel dizzy, I have a headache or I feel sick/nauseous."

"Everything looks blurry, or I see double."

A professional examination for every child, including those who do not display any signs of eye trouble, is recommended shortly after birth, at 6 months of age, before entering school (age 5-6) and periodically throughout the school years. "We can't emphasize enough how important it is to have your children's vision checked early on," said Prevent Blindness Iowa Executive Director Jeanne Burmeister. "When detected early, treatment of vision problems can be highly successful." As children are preparing to head back to school, Prevent Blindness Iowa urges parents to add an appointment to the eye doctor to the to do list.

For more information on children's vision issues call Prevent Blindness Iowa at 515/244-4341, 800/329-8782 or log on to



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