July 09, 2012
/ by Kristina Elliott
What: Before school starts is a great time for parents to be proactive about their children’s health. Good vision can help children perform better in school, and returning students can take time to have their vision checked and eyeglass prescriptions updated. Additionally, the yearly eye exam is an important opportunity for parents to learn more about common vision problems and recognize issues their children may have. This August, help children protect their eyes and vision during Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.
Background: Sponsored by Prevent Blindness America, Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month aims to reduce the incidence of childhood eye trauma and encourages vision screening to find children’s vision problems early. Delayed screening pushes back vital early treatments for many eye problems, which can lead to issues in school performance, as well as lifelong vision damage.
Story Pitch: This monthlong event is a great opportunity for companies and organizations associated to children’s health, vision and eyewear. Optometrists, ophthalmologists and pediatricians will want to promote vision screenings, which can detect how children are interpreting visual stimuli and lead to diagnoses for eyesight problems. Healthcare leaders can also discuss the link between vision trouble and problems in school, emphasizing that some children’s trouble seeing has led to misdiagnoses of learning disabilities. They can also point out common signs of vision problems in children, such as complaints about headaches from reading, squinting, or holding books too close when reading. Schools may also want to emphasize this link. Eyewear manufacturers have the chance to highlight their products for children. They may also want to emphasize how parents can help their children find a comfortable fit, as poorly fitted glasses may lead kids to take them off or become distracted during the school day. Additionally, eye injuries are common in children, especially those active in sports or outdoor activities, and manufacturers of protective gear should promote their products.
Story Hook: While early detection can limit the severe impact a vision problem can have on a child’s learning and development, only about a third of children undergo vision screening before beginning school. Nearly a quarter of school children have a vision problem, which means many are starting their education with a serious roadblock. How can parents set up a vision screening for their child? How often should children have their vision checked? Consider the following as you make your pitch:
Tips: An ophthalmologist or optometrist can talk about common eye problems in children, including signs that a child may be struggling to focus their vision. Additionally, a specialist in learning and child development is a good contact to speak on the importance of treating vision problems early and how untreated problems can lead to delayed learning. You may also want to speak with the parent of a child who is in the process of choosing their first pair of glasses.
American Optometric Association (800) 365-2219 www.aoa.org
Children’s Vision Foundation (541) 330-3907 www.childrensvisionfoundation.org
National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (301) 496-5248 www.nei.nih.gov
Prevent Blindness America (800) 331-2020 www.preventblindness.org
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott Event Dates from CHASE’S Calendar of Events
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