July means two things: soaking up that last month of summer sun and preparing for back to school. The experts at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital & Clinics offer us advice for our children’s eye health during this final month of summer!
Summer Eye Protection
Just like we care for our children’s skin in the sun by slathering them in sunscreen and hats, we should also care for their eyes in the sun. When outdoors, start good eye habits early and have them wear sunglasses. And not just any sunglasses will do . . . make sure they have UVA/UVB protection. Multiple Callahan clinic locations offer an on-site optical store that keeps UVA/UVB sunglasses in stock, and opticians are available for any questions you may have about sun protection for your eyes.
Before We Head Back to School
August is just around the corner, and we’ll soon be buying school supplies and backpacks. But before the back to school rush starts, make sure your child will be able read the chalkboard. An eye exam is in order especially if he or she is exhibiting any of the following symptoms:
- Eye strain
- Difficulty reading
- Eyes crossing or drifting
Your Questions Answered
Does My Child Need Blue Blocking Glasses?
I noticed my oldest spent quite a bit of time in front of a screen last year due to the increased use of chromebooks at her school. I know many parents wondered if we should purchase blue blocking glasses. Dr. Patel says blue blocking glasses have not been proven to work, although some patients experience symptomatic improvement with them for digital work. If your children are having issues from extra screen time, I would instead encourage them to take breaks and hold the screen further away. Use the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away.
Does My Child Really Need an Eye Exam?
In short, yes. Many parents wonder if a separate eye exam by a pediatric ophthalmologist or optometrist is necessary since children’s eyes are often checked at their pediatric well visit each year. But there is a difference in pediatrician eye screenings and pediatric ophthalmic screenings.
Pediatricians will check vision and basic alignment as a screening and may also use a vision screener. A pediatric ophthalmologist or optometrist does a comprehensive eye exam which will include dilation as well and checking for glasses. They are able to prescribe and treat any eye conditions.
What About Contacts?
Is there a recommended age for children to begin wearing contact lenses? Dr. Patel says a child can use contact lenses when he or she can be trusted to responsibly take them in and out. Children need to understand the importance of not sleeping in contacts. Dr. Patel’s personal opinion is to wait until high school, but that can vary patient to patient.
Time is Running Out!
The first day of school will be here before we know it. Make your child’s vision screening appointment today and tell them Birmingham Mom Collective sent you!