Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants to ensure your child has accurate vision before the upcoming school year.
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is observed every August to raise awareness of best practices to ensure childrens’ eyes and vision stay healthy. As children and families prepare for the new school year, it may be necessary to add a vision screening to your checklist.
“As children grow, their eyesight may change from year to year,” said Janice Hixson, MD, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s Chief Medical Officer. “Your child might not tell you if they’re experiencing a vision problem, but you can look for signs that could indicate poor vision.”
Some obvious signs of vision problems include squinting to read, holding reading materials very close to their face and complaining about things being blurry. More subtle signs include losing their place often while reading, having a short attention span, avoiding activities that require up-close focus and turning their head to the side when looking at something in front of them.
“If your child is showing signs of poor vision, it’s best to get them screened quickly,” Hixson said.
Children also need routine eye exams starting between six and 12 months. These can usually be done at a well-child visit. Talk with your child’s medical provider to see if you need to schedule any routine eye exams.
As more schools transition to online learning, increased screen use can have negative short-term effects on your child’s vision. Digital eye strain symptoms include dry eyes, itchy eyes, blurry vision and headaches. These symptoms are temporary, but uncomfortable.
To ease discomfort from digital eye strain, teach your child to BLINK:
- B - Blink: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds while blinking to relax the eyes.
- L - Lubricate: Use artificial tears to keep your eyes lubricated. If you wear contact lenses, try wearing glasses while using electronics.
- I - Inches Away: Keep electronic devices an arms length away and at a slight downward angle.
- N - Near Device Breaks: Encourage children to go outside or play with a non-electronic toy when taking breaks from electronic devices.
- K - Know Your Sources: Rely on eye health information from sources you can trust, including your medical provider.
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic patients can schedule an eye exam at (405) 948-4900 ext. 390 or http://okcic.com/services-specialties/optometry/
Set your child up for academic success by prioritizing eye health and safety this August.
About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 22,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.