4 Tips For Protecting Your Child’s Vision

The gift of vision is something to be cherished and not taken for granted. Unfortunately, too often, people don’t realize how damaging certain habits can be to vision. Many conditions that lead to poor eyesight are preventable. Protecting vision should start at a young age. Here are some things that parents can do to protect their child’s vision.

1. Provide Adequate Lighting

Poor lighting causes eye strain, which can damage the eye. Since children’s eyes are still growing and developing, it’s especially important to make sure there is adequate lighting in the house for reading and other activities. For best results, provide at least one table lamp next to the bed for reading in bed. An overhead light is recommended to illuminate the play area in the bedroom. If your child reads in other parts of the home, such as the living room, be sure these have table lamps and overhead lights, too.

2. Teach Your Child to Hold Book Properly

Be sure your child isn’t reading with their book held too closely. While this may be a sign of poor vision, it’s often just a habit with young children that only means they don’t know how to hold a book properly. Take time to show them the correct distance 8-12 inches and then gently correct them if they fall back into old habits.

3. Get Regular Eye Exams

Your child’s school will likely have vision screening days where they try to find out if any of the students have vision problems. However, these are no substitute for the attention of a professional eye doctor. Be sure to bring your child in for regular eye exams. This will ensure that any problems get corrected as soon as possible, so the issues don’t worsen.

4. Have Children Wear Safety Goggles

If your child participates in any contact sports, be sure they wear safety goggles. Eye trauma is a leading cause of an assortment of preventable vision problems. Eye goggles protect the eyes if an accident happens.
These four tips are sure to help protect your child’s vision at home, at school, and on the sports field. For more tips about protecting your child’s vision, consult with your child’s eye doctor.

Why Your Child Needs a Back-to-School Eye Exam

Good vision is essential at any age, but it’s especially critical that your child sees well in school. Not only can vision problems affect your child’s school performance adversely, but they can impact your child’s safety, and their ability to play sports and interact in social situations. Getting your child a vision screening before or early during the school year can ensure your child gets the most out of school.

Nearly 2 out of 10 children have refractive errors, which are vision problems causing the child to have blurry vision. The most common refractive errors are:

  • Being nearsighted: Nearsighted means your child cannot has trouble seeing faraway objects clearly
  • Being farsighted: Farsightedness means your child has difficulty seeing objects up close.
  • Having astigmatism. With this vision problem, your child has trouble seeing both up close and far away.

Children with refractive errors need glasses. Without refractive vision correction, they are at risk for a lazy eye, or amblyopia, or even irreversible vision loss.

Classroom Issues Affected by Poor Vision

If your child has problems with their vision, they may have trouble seeing the chalkboard, overhead projections or computer screens well. This may inhibit their ability to grasp concepts and learn information in the classroom potentially leading to sub-standard school performance and delayed learning development.

Outside the Classroom Issues Affected by Poor Vision

Good vision is vital for your child to get the most out of their in-classroom school experience. But poor vision has other repercussions outside the classroom as well.

  • Sports and playground activities: Poor vision can lead to hand-eye coordination troubles and interfere with their ability to catch or kick a ball. If your child’s vision impacts their recreational performances, it could lead them to being picked last for team-based sporting activities.
  • Social life: Poor vision can lead to teasing or bullying if your child makes faces, such as squinting or tilting his or her head to see better, or misreads visual cues when talking with their friends.
  • Stress levels at home: You and your child could experience added stress at home if, for example, homework takes longer to complete.

Schedule Your Child’s Vision Screening Exam

Many parents don’t realize their child is having trouble seeing until their school performance, sports, or social interactions begin to suffer. The best way to ensure your child has healthy vision is to schedule a vision screening exam for your child. Make an appointment today at Riverdale Vision Care by calling 973-248-0060.

Is Your Child’s Vision Getting Worse?

children looking at tablets One question we hear so often in our office is, “Why does my child’s eye continue to get worse every year?” Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is a common disorder of the eye. It affects about one third of the population in the United States, and 90% of the population in Asian countries. The increase in myopia has become a major concern for parents as well as optometrists. Myopia is caused by light falling in front of the retina, instead of directly on the retina; this is due to the eye having a longer axial length. Progressive myopia can lead to an increase incidence of retinal detachments, maculopathy, choroidal degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Genetics plays a huge role in determining the amount of myopia a child will have, as well as their environment. Research shows that if one parent is nearsighted, then the child has two times the risk for developing myopia and if both parents are nearsighted, then the child has five times the risk. It has also been shown that strain put on the visual system from doing a lot of close work such as extensive reading or computer use can also cause myopia to worsen. Because of this, researchers suggest kids should spend more time outside and reduce time spent on computers, cell phones, and digital devices.

Because myopia has become an epidemic, a lot of research and studies are being done for myopia control. Slowing down the progression of myopia can be achieved by atropine therapy, multifocal contact lenses and Orthokeratology.

The most effective treatment option to control myopia is by Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K. Ortho-K is a non-surgical procedure that utilizes carefully designed rigid oxygen permeable contact lens that gently shapes the front of the eye, called the cornea, while sleeping. This corneal reshaping technology can reduce myopia and certain types of astigmatism. Extensive corneal mapping is performed to determine if someone is a good candidate for this treatment. The benefit of corneal reshaping technology is to reduce the need for glasses or contacts during the day and to help slow down the progression of myopia. The Ortho-K lenses are worn during sleep for at least 8 hours per night, gradually flattening the cornea thereby improving vision. They are removed in the morning and the effect of clear vision lasts throughout the day. This treatment option is recommended for kids as young as six up to their teens. This is the time period where a child’s prescription changes the most. Risks of infection are low, similar to soft contact lens worn with similar wearing schedules.

During your exam at Riverdale Vision Care, we not only prescribe and treat based upon your current visual needs, but we take a deeper approach and recommend treatment options that may reduce your risks for eye diseases in the future. Myopia control is so important since we’ve been seeing an increase in myopia due to more and more time in front of computer screens for personal and school use and less and less time playing outdoors. If you are concerned about your child’s vision and would like to learn more about Orthokeratology, please schedule an appointment by calling (973) 248-0060 or visit riverdalevisioncare.com. Your child’s future vision is in your hands.