This month you’ve gotten your children’s immunizations and made sure they are ready for school. Did that include their eye health? That is an often overlooked aspect of children’s development. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Our partners at Prevent Blindness Georgia screen children in our child development centers to ensure Georgia’s children are vision ready for school!

Prevent Blindness Georgia’s website provides valuable information about preventative care, safety and problems eyes belonging to all ages.

Prevent Blindness recommends a continuum of eye care for children to include both vision screening and comprehensive eye examinations. All children, even those with no signs of trouble, should have their eyes checked at regular intervals. Any child who experiences vision problems or shows symptoms of eye trouble should receive a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

Suggested timetables for children’s eye health, based on key children’s health organizations are:

Newborn infants

Newborns should have their eyes checked while still in the hospital nursery. This examination in the nursery should be for general eye health and include a red reflex test. This examination can help detect several congenital eye problems, some of which can be very serious and permanently threaten vision.

During regular well baby exams, from birth to 3 years of age

Pediatricians should use family vision history and a vision assessment to see if vision problems exist. Beginning at well-child exams at age 3 and continuing annually through 10 years of age, vision screenings should be performed assessing your child’s visual acuity and ocular alignment.

If a child fails a vision screening or there is any concern of an eye or vision problem

The child should be referred for a comprehensive professional eye examination. This combination of vision screenings with referral for a comprehensive professional eye examination are the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association supports a comprehensive professional eye examination performed by an eye doctor at age 6 months, 3 years and 5 years for all children.

Prevent Blindness strongly believes that some children should be directly referred to an eye care specialist for a comprehensive eye examination rather than undergo a vision screening. These include:

  • Children with readily recognized eye abnormalities such as a crossed or wandering eye or a droopy eyelid.
  • Children with known neurodevelopmental disorders in any area (e.g., hearing impairment, motor abnormalities such as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, autism spectrum disorders, speech delay). These children have a higher rate of vision problems than those without neurodevelopmental abnormalities.
  • Children with identified systemic diseases known to have associated eye disorders, or those with family histories of a first-degree relative with strabismus, amblyopia, or high refractive error.
  • Children whose parents believe their child may have a vision-related problem.

The above information was republished with the permission of PBGA.

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