Parents Should Also Hit the Books to Educate Themselves on the

Importance of Children’s Eye Health

 

Columbus, OH  (August 1, 2011)– For many, the first day of school is quickly approaching and parents know there is so much to be done to make sure that their child has all of the tools to succeed.  A key part of this success starts with healthy eyesight in the classroom.

 

A child’s ability to see clearly is critical to their learning experience.  Prevent Blindness Ohio has declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month in an effort to encourage parents to learn about ways they can help protect their child’s vision.

 

Often children do not realize they have problems with their vision because they think how they see is how everyone else sees. They learn to compensate with their vision problems without fixing them, which can lead to more problems in school and later in life.  Unfortunately, some students are misdiagnosed as having a learning disability or behavioral problems when they may have vision impairment.  This confusion can be addressed by taking a child for a certified vision screening or an eye exam. 

 

“Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children.  We want all parents to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year,” said Sherry Williams, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio.  “A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

 

Eye problems can range from common refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, to serious eye conditions including: 

Amblyopia or “lazy eye”- the most common cause of visual impairment in children.  As the brain develops and receives diminished images from the affected eye, it begins to suppress those images and favor the unaffected eye.  If this condition persists, the weaker eye may become useless.  Amblyopia becomes more difficult to treat effectively as the child becomes older.

Strabismus or “crossed eyes”– a condition where eyes are misaligned, or do not line up with each other.  This problem is caused when the muscles do not work together.  Strabismus may eventually lead to amblyopia.  Approximately one in 50 children has strabismus.   

 

Eye problems like amblyopia or strabismus are most successfully treated prior to age 6.  If left until the child is older, the child may have good vision in only one eye for their remainder of their lifetime.   That’s why Prevent Blindness Ohio recommends a continuum of eye care throughout the lifespan beginning at birth and including regular vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams.

 

Parents can hit the books as well to learn more about how to keep their children’s eyes healthy.  Prevent Blindness America has created “Star Pupils,” a free program specifically designed to educate parents on what they can do to ensure healthy eyesight for their kids.  Parents may visit Starpupils.org and receive free information on everything from common eye conditions in children to tips on how to protect eyes from injury while playing sports.

 

Prevent Blindness America  recently launched the “Most Beautiful Eyes Contest”, which allows children across the United States the chance to become the face of the Star Pupils program in 2012 and win a $25,000 scholarship.  From July 18 through August 31st parents of children ages zero to 17 are encouraged to enter their child in the Prevent Blindness America Most Beautiful Eyes Contest by submitting a photo to the Prevent Blindness America Facebook page (facebook.com/preventblindness). The program is designed to support the Star Pupils program, the signature vision and education platform for Prevent Blindness Ohio and Prevent Blindness America.

 

For more information on children’s eye health and safety, please call Prevent Blindness Ohio at 800-301-2020 or log on to www.pbohio.org.

 

About Prevent Blindness Ohio

Prevent Blindness Ohio, founded in 1957, is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. Prevent Blindness Ohio is an affiliate of Prevent Blindness America, the country’s second-oldest national voluntary health organization. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020.  Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio.

 

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