Prevent Blindness has declared August the month of Children’s Eye Health and Safety. Because young children and their parents may not be aware of reduced visual functioning, routine vision screening and/or eye examinations are vitally important to detect problems before the child’s development is compromised. Any possible problem identified by vision screening must be followed up with a comprehensive eye examination. Together, vision screening and eye examinations are complementary and essential elements of a strong public health approach to vision and eye health.
The Role of Vision Screenings
- Identifies children who may be at high risk for eye disease or in need of a professional eye examination
- Helps detect the possible presence of disorders at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be effective
- Provides valuable information and education about eye health
- Results in a referral to an eye care professional or primary care provider when screening tests indicate a need for diagnosis and treatment
What Do Your Child’s Eyes Look Like?
- Eyes don’t line up, one eye appears crossed or looks out!
- Eyelids are red-rimmed, crusted or swollen
- Eyes are watery or red (inflamed)
How Does Your Child Act?
- Rubs eyes a lot
- Closes or covers one eye
- Tilts head or thrusts head forward
- Has trouble reading or doing other close-up work, or holds objects close to eyes to see
- Blinks more than usual or seems cranky when doing close-up work
- Things are blurry or hard to see
- Squints eyes or frowns
What Does Your Child Say?
- “My eyes are itchy,” “my eyes are burning” or “my eyes feel scratchy. “I can’t see very well.”
- After doing close-up work, your child says “I feel dizzy,” “I have a headache” or “I feel sick/nauseous.”
- “Everything looks blurry,” or “I see double.”
Remember, your child may still have an eye problem even if he or she does not complain or has not shown any unusual signs.
Prevent Blindness Offers Information to Protect Your Eyes During Upcoming Solar Eclipse
Tips on How to View This Historic Solar Event Without Damaging Your Eyes
Across North America on Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible to millions of people. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun. As part of this eclipse, some parts of the United Stated will experience a brief total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s face for up to 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
However, looking directly at the sun can be very harmful to the eyes. In fact, exposing eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy. This exposure to the light can cause damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain. This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain. It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred.
Prevent Blindness, has established a web page https://ohio.preventblindness.org/search/node?keys=solar+eclipse with information about an eclipse, potential related dangers to vision, and how to protect your eyes from injury during the event.
PBO is featured on the local Columbus WSYX-TV News yesterday and today with our safety message: http://abc6onyourside.com/on-your-side/6-on-your-side/safe-viewing-of-the-solar-eclipse
Prevent Blindness also offers the following tips on how to view the eclipse safely:
- Pinhole projection: This is the safest and most inexpensive way of watching a solar eclipse. This helps you avoid looking directly at the eclipse by using a projected image. This do-it-yourself project includes making a pinhole in a cardboard paper with the sun on one side and a piece of paper to project the image on the other side. Keep in mind not to look through the pinhole at the sun.
- Welder’s glass: Number 14 welder’s glass provides effective protection and can be found at a local welder’s supply store. This glass will reduce the harmful rays that are emitted during the eclipse. Do not use if there are any scratches or damage to the glass.
- Mylar filters: Aluminized Mylar plastic sheets are available as eclipse vision glasses or can be cut and made into a viewing box. Do not use if there are any scratches or damage to the sheet.
- Other ways: Other ways to safely watch a solar eclipse are on television or at a planetarium.
In addition, Prevent Blindness warns against using the following methods:
- Smartphone: Watching a solar eclipse on your smartphone camera can put you at risk of accidentally looking at the sun when trying to line up your camera. It could possibly also damage your smartphone camera. Don’t take the risk.
- Camera viewfinder: Never look at a solar eclipse through the optical viewfinder of a camera. It can damage your eyes in the same way as looking directly at it.
- Unsafe filters: Unless specifically designed for viewing a solar eclipse, no filter is safe to use with any optical device (telescopes, binoculars, sunglasses, etc.).
Prevent Blindness strongly recommends that anyone who plans on viewing the solar eclipse consult an eye care professional to determine the safest viewing option. Anyone who experiences changes in vision or worsening eye pain after viewing the eclipse should seek treatment from an eye doctor immediately.
We want to encourage the public to take the right precautions in advance to safeguard their eyes from the sun’s powerful rays.
If you follow these tips by wearing the proper eye protection everyone can enjoy this amazing spectacle of nature safely!
Happy Solar Eclipsing!