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Child’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Child’s Eye Health and Safety Month Child’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is …

Eye conditions that can affect children

While a loss of visual acuity is often associated with senior citizens, various diseases and conditions of the eye can affect children. The American Academy of Opthalmology says many conditions and diseases can impact a child's vision. Early diagnosis and

treatment are critical to improving

a youngster's eye health and helping

him or her see and feel better.

Learning about certain conditions and how to recognize their accompanying symptoms can help parents ensure kids get the treatment they need.


Often referred to as 'lazy eye,' amblyopia may be characterized by reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood. Amblyopia may result from misalignment of a child's eyes or

from one eye focusing better than the other. If left untreated, the weaker eye can continue to weaken until it is ren- dered useless. Sight in the a-ected eye

can be restored if treatment is begun

early, says Prevent Blindness Amer ica. Glasses, eye exercises or surgery may be prescribed to help fix the underlying causes of the condition.


Astigmatism is a condition

wherein objects viewed at both a dis tance and close up can appear blurry.

Experts say it occurs from the uneven

curvature of the cornea or lens, which prevents rays of light from entering the eye and focusing on a single point on the retina, otherwise known as a refractive error. Prescription eyeglass es often fix astigmatism. All About Vision also says that refractive surgery may correct astigmatism.

Color blindness (color vision deficiency) The main symptom of color

blindness is diculty distinguishing

between colors or making mistakes when identifying colors, particularly

those shaded red and green. Typi cally by age five, children with normal color vision will be able to identify groups of colors, so if a school-aged child is having diculty or showing

disinterest in coloring, he or she may benefit from a colorblindness test.

(e National Eye Institute says color

blindness is much more common in males than in females.

Pediatric glaucoma

This rare condition, also known as congenital glaucoma, occurs in infants and young children. The Glaucoma Research Foundation says incorrect development of the eye's

drainage system before birth leads to increased intraocular pressure, which

can damage the optic nerve. Enlarged

eyes, corneal cloudiness and sensitiv-

ity to light can be symptoms. Medica tion and surgery are required in most cases.


Strabismus is a condition of mis aligned eyes. It occurs when the eye muscles fail to work together and the eyes turn inward, outward, upward, or downward. By the age of three to four months, an infant's eyes should

be able to focus and be straight and

parallel. Parents should consult an

eye care professional if they notice eye alignment problems in their children.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis), diabe tes-related eye problems and other refractive errors also can occur in children. Routine eye examinations can identify problems and get children the treatment they need.

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