Taking Care of Your Family's Eyes

Since January is Eye Care month, this is a great time to think about your family’s eye health.

taking care eyes sm

Because eye health and vision issues can lead to problems such as difficulty in school and vision loss, make sure that you are taking care of both your children’s eyes and your own eyes.

“Experts say 5 – 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems,” says Dr. Dawn Gammon, Optometrist and CEO of The Eyewear Gallery. “Early identification of a child’s vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss.”


Symptoms of Vision Problems
When Pam Vetter’s son Ian was in fifth grade, he started having difficulty seeing the chalkboard in school. She took him to an optometrist for a complete eye exam, and the doctor determined that he needed glasses. One of the first signs of vision problems that parents notice is difficulty in school, especially in reading and handwriting. Other signs of vision issues can include headaches, double vision and blurred vision.

Importance of Regular Eye Screenings
The American Optometric Association recommends that you take your baby for their first eye exam with an optometrist by six months of age to rule out eye health issues. You should also take your child for an eye exam when he is 3 years of age and before kindergarten. School-aged children should have a comprehensive exam every two years or whenever symptoms of eye or vision problems arise.
While your child’s pediatrician or school probably does a vision screening each year, it is important to also take your child for a complete eye exam.

“Vision screenings are designed to detect gross vision problems,” says Gammon. “But kids can pass a screening at school and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and school performance.” Gammon also reminds parents that school vision screenings does not evaluate the health of your child’s eyes for issues such as amblyopia (lazy eye), convergence insufficiency, focusing problems and eye teaming problems.

Corrective Lens for Kids and Adults
If your child needs to wear corrective lens, be positive about the glasses to your child and let them be involved in the process of picking out the frames. When Sophia Chiang’s daughter was diagnosed with far-sightedness in kindergarten, she took her to a children’s eyewear boutique and let her pick out a pair of rainbow-colored hand-painted glasses.

“We felt that if she liked her glasses, it would be less traumatic and she would wear the glasses all the time,” says Chiang.

Gammon recommends polycarbonate or trivex lens for kids because of durability. “If a child plays a rough sport like baseball, basketball, or hockey, goggles such as “Rec-Specs” are wonderful eye safety devices,” says Gammon.

When you feel your child is responsible enough to handle contacts, talk to their eye doctor about contact lenses. When Ian Vetter entered the sixth grade, he switched to contacts. His optometrist went over how to put them in, keep them clean and change the solution.

 “I take good care of my contacts because they’re expensive, and the doctor showed me how to take care of them. I change the saline solution every day so I don’t get eye infections,” explains Ian.

Adult Eye Care
In addition to taking care of your children’s eyes, be sure have your own eyes examined at least every two years. Gammon says that adults can help keep their eyes healthy by exercising regularly, not smoking, wear UV eyewear with UV protection and eat a diet rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and dark green vegetables.

Gammon also reminds parents to be screened regularly for diabetes and high blood pressure.     

“If left untreated, these diseases can cause eye problems. In particular, diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension,” says Gammon.

By making eye health a priority in your family, you will be helping to keep your children’s eyes healthy and correct any vision issues early. In addition, you will be teaching them the importance of taking care of their own eyes and developing a life-long habit of eye care.

-----------------------
Jennifer Gregory is a freelance writer and mother of two. Her family finds it amusing that if she loses her glasses that they have to help her find them because she cannot see well enough to find her own glasses.

Health & Wellness Guide 2022

Health & Wellness Guide 2022

  Make a resolution to stay fit, active and healthy this new year with San Diego Family's 2022 Health & Wellness Guide. Search for pediatricians, dance classes, dentists and more. &n . . .

Read more

Check Your Family’s Mental Health

Check Your Family’s Mental Health

Even before the pandemic began, mental health challenges among kids and teens were on the rise. In the last year and a half, they have skyrocketed. According to a recent joint declaration from the A . . .

Read more

How to Keep Tabs on Stress and Anxiety in Kids

How to Keep Tabs on Stress and Anxiety in Kids

The pandemic created an undercurrent of anxiety that continues to impact families even while adjusting to working and schooling from home, wearing masks and social distancing. Combined with the unce . . .

Read more

Navigating Mental Health and How to get Help for Your Child

Navigating Mental Health and How to get Help for Your Child

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes mental disorders as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave or handle emotions. The CDC says the most common ment . . .

Read more

The Secret to Family Fitness: Focus on Playtime!

The Secret to Family Fitness: Focus on Playtime!

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Play is brain building, a central part of healthy child development, a key to executive function skills, and a buffer against the negative i . . .

Read more

San Diego Cancer Support Groups and Resources

San Diego Cancer Support Groups and Resources

A cancer diagnosis is difficult for everyone involved. These local San Diego companies offer support and resources to help cancer patients and their families navigate the path to health and healing. . . .

Read more

How to Support Kids When a Parent Has Cancer

How to Support Kids When a Parent Has Cancer

Many people know how to help friends or family members who have been diagnosed with cancer or another life-threatening or chronic disease. But when the diagnosed individual is a parent who is increasi . . .

Read more

Teaching Kids About Money

Teaching Kids About Money

It's never too early (or late) for parents to teach kids about money. Specifically, to discuss saving, spending and borrowing money—and sharing our resources. According to Brad Benter, a fina . . .

Read more

How to Protect Kids from Anxiety Overload

How to Protect Kids from Anxiety Overload

Anxiety in kids is on the rise, and it doesn’t take too much digging to uncover some of the reasons why. With increased pressure inside and outside of the classroom, children’s performance is me . . .

Read more

Foods with Immune-Boosting Potential

Foods with Immune-Boosting Potential

Flu season is here, so take precautions — the flu can be more serious than most people think. Did you know that there are foods that can help reduce your chances of getting sick? Dr. Neal Malik of . . .

Read more

Heart Health: Screen Your Teen

Heart Health: Screen Your Teen

San Diego couple turns personal tragedy into triumph by offering free heart screenings to local teens and young adults through the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation. Eric Paredes was entering his . . .

Read more

Simple Ways to Keep Pets Healthy

Simple Ways to Keep Pets Healthy

Many families consider pets as family members, and ensuring pets are healthy and happy is really important. Common practices such as a good diet, exercise, routine vaccinations, flea and tick prev . . .

Read more

Talking to Kids About Coronavirus

Talking to Kids About Coronavirus

3 things kids need from parents right now: With news swirling around us about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, kids need three things from parents right now: Reassurance Your number one jo . . .

Read more

10 Steps to an Allergy-Safe School Year

10 Steps to an Allergy-Safe School Year

For parents of children with food allergies, starting a new school year can seem daunting. As the mom of a daughter with celiac disease, I know how overwhelming food allergies are at times. To ensur . . .

Read more

Kids in Motion: 9 ways to keep kids active

Kids in Motion: 9 ways to keep kids active

If you’re concerned your kids will spend the summer lounging on the couch, playing video games and watching YouTube, take charge and get ahead of the situation. Too much idle screen time negativel . . .

Read more

Dangerous Trends: What Parents Need to Know about Drugs, Online Challenges and More

Dangerous Trends: What Parents Need to Know about Drugs, Online Challenges and More

Parents are often shocked when they hear some of the dangerous things teens do. Teens are generally quick to experiment with the latest trends, whether it involves eating something for an online “ . . .

Read more

Family Fun Runs and 5Ks in San Diego County

Family Fun Runs and 5Ks in San Diego County

Walk for Water (Mission Bay/Tecolote Shores North Park) - AprilBring your family and friends to Mission Bay to experience the trek that millions of women and children around the world make every d . . .

Read more

How Digital Devices Affect Eyes: What you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome

How Digital Devices Affect Eyes: What you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome

Does your technology-fixated child ever complain of dry, irritated eyes? What about blurry vision, headaches, light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, or fatigue? You might look to his electronic . . .

Read more

Clean House in Just 20 Minutes

Clean House in Just 20 Minutes

Like many moms, I love having a clean house. Even if the kids are running around and tossing their toys all over the place, I feel so happy when I look at a gleaming kitchen with clean countertops a . . .

Read more

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

Winter can be wonderful. Holiday traditions, family gatherings, travel … and germs. Unfortunately it’s also the peak season for colds and the flu, but busy moms can be especially susceptible if . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!