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August 2006

NHM Health Focus: Children's Eye Health and Safety

Vision and Achievement
  - Children's Vision Information Network (CVIN)
  - Vison and Learning (P.A.V.E.®)
  - The Hidden Disability: Undetected Vision Problems (P.A.V.E.®)

How Eyes Work
  - Sense of Sight, Part 1 (Neuroscience for Kids)
  - How Your Eyes Work (AOA)
  - A Big Look at the Eye (KidsHealth, Nemours)
  - How does your eye work? (Exploratorium)
  - Vision Development Birth to School Age (CVIN)

Eye Care and Eye Safety
  - Taking Care of Your Child's Sight (PBA)
  - Protect Your Children's Eyes From Ultraviolet Rays (AAO)
  - Eye Safety for Children (AAO)
  - Play Sports Safely (AAO)
  - Play it Safe! (PBA)
  - First Aid for Eye Emergencies
(PBA)
  - Eye Care Facts and Myths: A Closer Look (AAO)
  - Who Needs an Eye Exam? (Mayo Clinic)

Eye Conditions, Disabilities and Diseases
  - Common Eye Problems in Children (PBA)
  - Childhood Vision: What the Research Tells Us (CHHCSM)
  - Symptoms of Vision Problems (AAP)
  - Ambylopia (Lazy-Eye) (NEI)
  - Strabismus (Cross Eyes) (MedlinePlus, NLM)
  - Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)
(Mayo Clinic)
  - Eye Diseases (MedlinePlus, NLM)
  - Students with Persistent Problems - the Visual Connection
     (School Nurse News)

Vision problems, whatever their origin, have the potential for affecting the way children learn.

"Each year thousands of children suffer from undetected vision problems that can make school and life difficult.  In addition, children with crossed eyes and lazy eyes face especially demanding challenges.  Children with poor visual skills may struggle to read, have short attentions, perform poorly in sports, develop low self-esteem, and have doors closed to many careers because of poor visual skills." Children's Vision Information Network

Eye disorders may be refractive – disorders in which the eye does not focus the light that enters the eye, or non-refractive – disorders caused by eye diseases.

In addition to refractive and non-refractive disorders, eye injuries cause vision loss for too many. In 2002 more than 14,000 children age 14 and younger suffered sports-related eye injuries serious enough to be treated in hospital emergency rooms. Protective eye wear could have prevented most of these injuries. (Prevent Blindness America)

"Vision problem warning signs in children include:

  • Eyes turning inward (crossing) or outward
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Not doing as well in schoolwork as before
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Losing place while reading
  • Avoiding close work
  • Holding reading material closer than normal
  • Tending to rub eyes
  • Eyes tiring when reading or doing schoolwork
  • Turning or tilting head to use one eye only
  • Making frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Using finger to maintain place when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential"
    (CHHCSM)

Eye exams are one of the best ways to protect vision and to prevent permanent vision loss. Eye exams can make sure eyes are healthy now and alert parents to possible future problems.

From birth to old age, prevention and early treatment are the best ways to preserve and enhance vision and quality of life.

Eye and vision resources posted on Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum web site include: