By Judith Whitehead
Special to The News
August is upon us and our children have been enjoying their summer activities and sports as they get ready for the start of the school year.
It also is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.
By the time this month comes around, baseball, soccer and other sports are winding down and children may be becoming careless in regard to their eye safety. It is imperative that they continue to use eye protection in the form of recreation specs or glasses, helmets and safety gear.
Every year, we always see a child who has gotten injured and hit in the face or eye by a ball or other object. That injury can be avoided by taking a few extra minutes to ensure a safe game.
Also, as the new school year approaches, all preschool children should have a baseline eye evaluation. Children rarely complain if an eye is not performing; they often will just go along with the use of one good eye.
This is the time that amblyopia, or lazy eye, is detected. If treatment is delayed at this young age, the performance of that lazy eye is greatly compromised. Simple detection by an eye doctor means that treatment can start right away. By patching the good eye, the brain is forced into making the poor eye “turn on” and function much better. Binocular vision also can be achieved with two working eyes. A tight patching schedule must be adhered to in order for treatment to work properly.
Children should get an eye exam every year or two to promote good eye health. Vision can change quickly when children are growing; a growth spurt can change vision, as well.
An optometrist or ophthalmologist can perform a simple eye examination and preserve good vision for the future.
Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.