Educate!

Educate parents about the importance of early eye exams and screenings, and of the need to follow up and treat any issues that are identified.  Early treatment can save vision!

There’s very little about early vision health in baby books or the myriad of Internet sites for parents. Yet the prevalence of vision issues in children is high: around 1 in 20 preschool children and 1 in 10 young school-age children need some form of vision correction. The majority of these children do not receive it, either because their parents are unaware of their issues, or because they don’t have access to the eye care they need.

We worry about getting the right foods to feed our child, and whether our child is walking or talking early enough, or when to see the dentist, but there’s very little discussion of whether or not to have your child see an eye doctor. The normal symptoms that we think of for needing glasses (can’t see signs while driving, difficulty reading the small print on advertisements, problems watching tv), are not particularly relevant for very young children, especially those that are farsighted (which is true for the majority of children with vision issues). Most parents don’t know what signs to watch for that might indicate a vision issue.*

The Great Glasses Play Day is a day to celebrate our children in glasses and the fact that this generation of kids benefit from advancements in eye health. It’s a day to get together with other families and just have a good time. But it’s also a chance for us to reach out to other families and tell our stories: to explain how we knew to get our child’s eyes examined; to tell stories about how correcting our child’s vision made such a change in their life; to help other parents understand why it’s so important to take visual health seriously and to follow up on any referrals or gut feelings that something isn’t right.

Our children advocate every day, simply by proudly wearing their glasses. And we advocate for children’s vision every time we answer another person’s question about our child in glasses. We can use the Great Glasses Play Day as an opportunity to come together and share what we’ve learned. We hope you will help us spread the word about the day and celebrate with us online, at one of our meet ups, or in your own home.

* We are so thankful to have the support of the American Optometric Association, theChildren’s Eye Foundation ( the official foundation of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus) and Prevent Blindness Wisconsin (a part of Prevent Blindness America, the oldest organization dedicated to saving sight). Please take a look at these resources on identifying signs of vision issues in young children, and pass them along to any other parents with similar questions.

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