The ABCs of Protecting Your Child’s Developing Eyes
The eyes are often overlooked, as ironic as that sounds. At least with kids, that is. But our friend Dr. Josephson, an expert representative at the International Standards Organization, is here to remind us of what to do to ensure your child's developing eyes are protected. Here are some important Q&A's to consider.
Q: How do you know if your child needs an eye exam?
A: Every child should have an eye exam at 18 months to establish a base line and to look for any unusual eye issues. Then about once every 12-18 months thereafter till age 10. If a child wears soft lenses, then the doctor will recommend a check-up every six months.
Your Main Concern
Q: What are the main concerns moms should have about their kids' eye health?
A: Moms should protect their kids from UV rays by having them wear sunglasses when playing outdoors—even on cloudy days, because there is just as much UV danger on a cloudy day. Also, make sure that they have an exam to see if there is a significant prescription that could affect school work or class attention.
The Warning Signs
Q: What are the warning signs to look for?
A: Warning signs to look for are if one eye drifts in or out and does not work together with the other eye; inattention to visual details; excessive eye rubbing or eye fatigue; squinting; any undue redness of the white of the eye.
When in Doubt, Don't Wait
Q: What specific steps should moms take to protect their kids from those concerns?
A: If in doubt, don't wait. Book an eye exam with an optometrist.
What to Shop For
Q: What should moms look for when buying sunglasses?
A: They need to make sure they have a block UV to 400, or 'UV 400'; they need to make sure the lenses are plastic and for a child under 11, preferably the lenses should be made of high-impact resistant polycarbonate.
Q: Are contact lenses suitable for tweens?
A: Yes, but it depends on their sense of independence and maturity. Parents will know when their child is ready to be responsible enough to handle the care and consistency that contact lenses require.
Making the Change to Glasses
Q: If your child needs glasses, what can moms say/do to help with the transition and ensure the change to wearing glasses is a positive one?
A: First, take them to an optician that has a good collection of flattering eyewear, then have the child participate in the decision making process. Also make sure the child feels attractive and interested in their glasses—remind them that the glasses will help them see so much better. Encourage them by explaining that they will do better in class and see more details than they did before, including seeing colours more clearly.
About Dr. Josh Josephson
Dr. Josh Josephson is the CEO of Josephson Opticians, one of Canada's experts serving the International Standards Organization, and the Chairman of the Ophthalmic Devices Subcommittee of the Standards Council of Canada. For more information, please visit www.josephson.ca.