As the state’s leading voluntary eye health and safety organization, “Prevent Blindness” is dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight. Established in 1965, “Prevent Blindness Texas” is focused on improving the state’s vision and eye health by educating the community through the core competencies of early detection, patient support, systems enhancement, and public policy. Prevent Blindness Texas touches the lives of thousands of Texans, including children, through the sight-saving programs and the network of volunteers and offices located in Texas. This month is dedicated to Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.
As school beings this month, your child’s vision is essential to their success in school because uncorrected vision problems can interfere with learning, child development, and may lead to permanent vision loss. Although only 52% of children ages 3 through 5 years old are screened for vision problems, all children should have their eyes checked regularly, even those with no signs of trouble. One in four children has a vision problem that requires treatment. In Texas, schools require a vision screening for children who enroll in any public, private, parochial, or denominational school or in a Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) licensed child care center and licensed child care home in Texas for the first time. The frequency of the required screenings is for children enrolled in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades and children four years of age or older, who are enrolled in a facility for the first time. For more information about the vision screening requirements in Texas, visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/vhs/vision-require.aspx.
You can tell if your child may have eye problems by how they act, what they say, and how they look. Things to look for in how your child’s eye looks are if their eyes don’t line up, eyelids are red-rimmed crusted or swollen and if the eyes are watery or red. Also, if your child rubs their eyes a lot, closes or covers one eye, tilts head or thrust their head forward, has trouble reading or other close-up work, blinks more than usual, or squints eyes are indicators in your child’s behavior. Furthermore, if your child says their eyes are itchy or burning. They may say they feel dizzy or sick after completing close-up work. In the event that one or more of these signs appear, take your child to an eye doctor for further evaluation.
In general, regular eye exams are recommended, especially for those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. Changes in the appearance of your eyes or vision should be further investigated. For example, unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms, difficulty focusing on near or distant objects, squinting or blinking due to unusual sensitivity to light or glare, double vision, excess tearing or “watery eyes”, dry eyes with itching or burning, along with more examples can be early, non-emergency signs of vision problems. Sudden loss of vision in one eye, sudden hazy or blurred vision, flashed of light or black spots, halos or rainbows around a light, curtain-like blotting out of vision, and loss of peripheral vision are indications of a potentially serious problem. If you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, visit an eye doctor right away.
If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved with Prevent Blindness Texas or to read more information visit https://texas.preventblindness.org/ . We can continue to take care of our children’s eyes and preserve their sight through education and involvement.
If you have any questions regarding the information mentioned in this week’s article, please don’t hesitate to contact either my Capitol or District office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 512-463-0672.