Health Plus: Kids Eye Safety - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Kids Eye Safety

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Dr. David Neill is an optometrist at Covenant Medical Center. Sometimes he'll see patients who are younger than one year old, but usually, kids' first eye exams take place before their first year of school.

Dr. Neill said when youngsters are at school, playing outside with friends or simply staying active, it's a prime time for parents to keep kids' eye health and safety in mind. When grandparents used to harp, "Don't run with scissors!", it turns out eye doctors give the very same advice.

"Injuries really account for a significant number of long-term visual problems that would originate in childhood," Dr. Neill said.

He said other injuries can happen in ball sports, especially baseball, softball and lacrosse. He advises parents to arm their children with the appropriate equipment to keep their eyes protected when playing such sports.

One of the biggest dangers to eye health is the sun. Much like adults, doctors recommend sunglasses for children, too.

"When we should be protecting our kids from the sun is before age 12, so sunglasses are right for our kids," Neill said. "They should have UVA, UVB and UVC blocking."

Lastly, Dr. Neill said in the digital age and as kids become more tech-savvy, the popular gizmos and gadgets can wreak havoc on kids' eyes.

"The fact that you're looking at something that is close to you for extended periods of time induces eye strain, and uses muscles in your eyes not meant to be used full-time," he said.

He generally recommends kids to see an eye doctor for annual exams. However, if parents notice a problem or concern with their child's vision, he advises seeing a doctor sooner rather than later.

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