Summer is a great time to get outside and take part in all mother nature has to offer. But be sure that while you’re out enjoying the sun you take precautions to guarantee everyone’s eye safety. Summertime can lead to various eye injuries and ensuring your children have protective safety gear and strategies can help them. Protecting children’s eye health will help keep them safe from eye injury while teaching them healthy habits for protecting their eyes in the future. Taking steps to care for your children’s eyes will help them normalize these behaviours and prevent future incidents. This Eye Injury Prevention Month, learn how to help keep your child’s eyes safe from injury by taking precautions.
Sunburns Of The Eye
Also known as photokeratitis, a corneal sunburn is a temporary condition that can last anywhere from several hours to several days. This painful eye condition is caused by too much exposure to harmful UV rays and can cause headaches, blurry vision, light sensitivity, pain or redness, twitching of the eyes, a gritty feeling in the eyes, and more. To help your child avoid photokeratitis this summer, ensure they wear UV-blocking sunglasses any time they go outside. This will not only prevent your child from getting a sunburn of the eye, but it will also reduce their risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts or cancer of the eye later in life and will get them into the habit of wearing sunglasses regularly.
Eyes And Water
The summertime is a popular time for swimming in lakes, rivers, and pools. While the cool water is refreshing, it is important to remember to protect the eyes against any chemicals or bacteria in the water. Pools have chlorine that irritates the eyes and natural bodies of water have bacteria that can cause irritation or infection. If your child is going to swim, find them a well-fitting pair of goggles to keep their eyes safe.
Encourage Hand Washing
Fingers are some of the most bacteria-ridden parts of the body since they come into contact with the largest variety of objects throughout the day. While you can encourage your child to not touch their eyes, they will likely do so absent-mindedly. To help avoid the transfer of germs and bacteria, teach your children to wash their hands frequently. This is especially important when they come back inside, as they will likely have dirt and germs on their hands from outside playing. Teaching your child to wash their hands can also help to keep abrasive particles such as sand out of their eyes.
Avoid Sports Injuries
Summer is a great time to get outside and get moving. The weather is right for baseball, beach volleyball, basketball, badminton, and more. If your child takes up a sport, ensure you stress the importance of safety eyewear. Sudden trauma to the eye, abrasions caused by particles in the eye, or punctures are all possible sports injuries that can cause serious damage to eye health. But preventing these injuries is simple. A pair of safety glasses can keep your child’s eyes protected against flying objects or impact and can help to prevent injury.
Preventing eye injuries by taking the above precautions is a great way to keep your children’s eyes healthy. Another way to ensure proper vision and eye health is by taking them for yearly children’s eye exams. Regular children’s eye exams will not only ensure their prescription is up-to-date but it will also give the pediatric optometrist a chance to assess their eyes and ensure everything is looking healthy. Help keep your child’s eyes safe year-round with the help of a Calgary eye doctor at My Optometrist and preventative eye injury measures! To book an eye exam with one of our pediatric optometrists, contact My Optometrist at one of our three locations at Health First in SE Calgary, Sunridge in NE Calgary, or Three Hills, AB. You can also call us or fill out the online contact form.
Q: My child received vision screening at school. Do they still need an eye exam?
A: Yes, they do. A vision test only monitors a child’s ability to see whereas a children’s eye exam with a registered eye doctor examines the eye to look for any signs of disease, injury, or developmental issues.
Q: When should my child get a children’s eye exam?
A: You should take your child for their first children’s eye exam when they are 6 months old. Another children’s eye exam is recommended again at 3 years old, and another at 5 years old. After that, it should be an annual routine. Once a person reaches young adulthood, at approximately 19 years of age, it may be advised to transition to bi-annual exams or as recommended by your optometrist.
Q: I don’t have optical insurance. What can I do to get my child the eye care they need?
A: Any Alberta resident under the age of 18 has their eye exams covered by provincial insurance and any Alberta resident of any age is covered by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) for eye emergency care. If your child needs glasses and is kindergarten-aged, they may be eligible for the Eye See Eye Learn program. The Eye See Eye Learn program provides a free pair of prescription eyeglasses to children who need them. If you would like to participate in Eye See Eye Learn, talk to a Calgary eye doctor at My Optometrist.
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