By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
Seeing truly is believing when it comes to eye safety and health and August helps recognize its importance while celebrating Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month. Each day, thousands of Americans suffer an eye injury. Many of these injuries occur in the workplace including farms, where young children are actively present. Exposure to chemicals, sunlight, gases, vapors and even debris in the air can have a lasting impact on the health of your eyes.
Although children’s eyes are mostly healthy, Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month serves as the perfect reminder for you to have your children’s eyes checked. Examinations during regularly scheduled pediatric visits should ideally start from the age of three and continue onwards. Here are five eye-opening tips to protect your child’s vision:
- Properly fitted and appropriate eye protection can reduce the risk of eye injuries by at least 90%, according The Ohio Ophthalmological Society. With children heading back to school and athletes getting back into regular practices, you can prevent sport-related eye injuries with the proper eye protection. Sunglasses can also aid in preventing the development of cataracts, retinal damage, and also protect your skin from cancer. Be sure your sunglasses provide 100% ultraviolet protection from both the UVA rays and UVB rays.
- In addition to wearing eye protection for all hazardous activities at home, in school, in sports or on the job that could lead to an eye injury, being prepared and thinking about first aid is also important. Having first aid kits with a rigid eye shield and eyewash station is a great way to be proactive in preventing or aiding in the event of an eye injury.
- As children grow and their vision changes, glasses and contact lens often come into play. Whether your child’s glasses or contacts are for close up or distance vision, it is important that he or she wears them exactly as prescribed by the eye doctor. You may want to talk to your child’s teachers and other adult guardians to ensure that your child is wearing them at school or away from home.
- Proper nutrition is essential in eye health. Vegetables, especially leafy green ones, should be an important part of the daily diet. Diets with higher levels of vitamin C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids can aid is eye health.
- Avoid eye fatigue from smartphones, tablets, and computers. If you notice eyestrain from working on one of these devices, The American Optometric Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule. Look up from your work every 20 minutes and focus at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you notice problems and they persist, it is important to be checked for proper prescription of eye glasses, contact lenses or other medical conditions.
These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. This year alone, more than 100,000 children & adults will participate in a Safety Day within their local community. Learn more at www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.
Photo: Understanding the importance of always wearing eye protection is what these participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Nebraska are learning through an educational, hands-on activity.