Look for these three traits when choosing your child’s eye glasses

Children are notoriously active: If they’re not busy climbing a tree or jumping on a trampoline, chances are they’re swimming or playing soccer. For this reason, it’s especially important to find glasses for your child that won’t break or scratch easily. By keeping your child’s glasses intact, you save money and time, and they can continue seeing clearly. So, next time you schedule an appointment with an eye doctor on your True Dental Discounts vision plan, work with him to find glasses with these three traits:

  • Spring hinges – If your child is like most children with glasses, he probably pulls his glasses off without a lot of thought. Unfortunately, quick, jerked movements can often compromise the structure of normal glasses. That’s why glasses with spring hinges are a great buy; the springs boost the flexibility of the frames, making the glasses snap-resistant.
  • Polycarbonate lenses – These durable lenses are made from material that was created to withstand extreme wear and tear. In fact, polycarbonate can be found in bulletproof windows and astronaut visors! It goes without saying that lenses made with polycarbonate are great for children, particularly those who are involved in sports or other physical activities. In addition, polycarbonate lenses are lighter and thinner than most glasses, which means your child won’t have to keep pushing them back into place on their nose.
  • Scratch-resistant coating – Even though polycarbonate lenses come with a basic coating to prevent scratches, it’s a good idea to find a specialized coating to apply on top of the existing one.  It’s important to note that no lenses or coatings can completely prevent scratches, but applying an extra coat is a great way to stretch the time in between repairs. Many of these coatings also come with warranties just in case the lenses do scratch.

Reading problems linked to poor vision

Does your child have trouble reading at school? If so, he or she may have undiagnosed problems with their vision. Even if a child has passed the vision screening at school, he or she may still have complications that go unnoticed during routine scans. According to the American Optometric Association, the eye chart test given in schools checks only for visual acuity – just one of seven skills needed to read properly. This results in many children “passing” the vision test who still need further testing and correction. Experts recommend children undergo a comprehensive optometric exam that tests not only for visual acuity, but also:

  • Visual fixation – the ability to aim the eyes accurately, whether it’s on a stationary photo in a history textbook or on a moving line of text in a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Accommodation – the ability to adjust eyes’ focus as the distance of an object in a person’s line of sight changes. This is especially important in school, where students often have to shift their focus from their textbooks to the chalkboard across the room.
  • Binocular fusion – the ability to unify information gathered from each individual eye. If a child’s vision is not aligned correctly, the brain will begin to compensate by favoring one eye over the other, causing a lazy eye.
  • Convergence – the ability to look at a nearby object by turning the eyes inward. This skill is important when children focus on doing homework or reading a book.
  • Field of vision – the complete area able to be seen by a person’s eyes. Children must be tested for the appropriate levels of peripheral and central vision to ensure they can see and read well in the classroom.
  • Perception — the ability to process and recognize objects in a person’s field of vision. Proper vision skills are required for children to be able to consistently recognize shapes and other repeated images, like letters or numbers.

Once a child’s vision has been thoroughly tested, he or she will be given corrective lenses that address any diagnosed problems. This often removes a huge hurdle in the reading process and makes any additional reading therapies more effective. For more information about comprehensive visual exams for students, talk to an optometrist on your vision plan. You can get significant savings on an exam that will set your child up for success in school, and in life.

I don’t wear glasses. Do I need to visit the eye doctor?

Yes. According to a recent survey by the American Optometric Association, 20 percent of adults who do not wear glasses or contacts have never been to an eye doctor. Many of them assume that since they do not have noticeable problems with their vision, it is not necessary to schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, this common misperception often has devastating consequences, particularly when it comes to glaucoma.

The American Optometric Association reminds patients that glaucoma – a degenerative vision condition – often “sneaks up” without any signs of pain or other symptoms. Although this condition is not yet curable, it is treatable, and the earlier treatment begins, the better the patient’s future quality of life. For this reason, it is extremely important for all adults to visit an optometrist regularly. The American Optometric Association suggests adults under 60 without vision problems should schedule an eye exam once every two years. After age 60, an exam should be conducted annually.

More frequent appointments may be necessary, depending on the person’s medical history and current health. If you have never been to the eye doctor, it’s easy to schedule that first appointment: Just call an optometrist on your True Dental Discounts vision plan. You will reap significant savings while also taking control of your health.

Early signs of vision problems in children

Many people think adults are the only ones who have to worry about their visual health. In reality, lots of children have visual problems that may go unnoticed by their parents or teachers. According to Prevent Blindness America, there are many signs that a child is having difficulty seeing, and adults should be on the lookout for both visual and auditory clues that indicate a problem. For instance, many children with visual issues have noticeably red, swollen or crossed eyes.

Other signals include a child’s tendency to rub her eyes frequently, squint, tilt her head, complain that words are blurry, or hold books close to her face when reading. Some children may also close one eye or lean their head forward in an attempt to see something more clearly. Prevent Blindness America (PBA) suggests that older children may verbally express their visual discomfort, using such phrases as:

  • “My eyes are itchy.”
  • “Everything seems blurry.”
  • “I have a headache” or “I feel dizzy” – particularly after reading a book or doing homework.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your own child, talk to an eye doctor on your True Dental Discounts plan as soon as possible. He or she can perform a complete visual examination and determine the extent of your child’s eye-care needs. In many cases, children who begin wearing glasses to improve their vision end up with better grades and a more focused interest in school. It’s a win-win situation!

Did you know? Weightlifting can damage your vision

Picture your normal workout routine: Does weightlifting put a strain on your muscles? Are you sore the next day? According to researchers at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, lifting weights may also be putting severe pressure on your eyes. This group of researchers found that intraocular pressure greatly rises during a strenuous physical activity like weightlifting, particularly for people who hold their breath during the lift. This additional pressure is likely the result of increased pressure in the chest while the person holds his breath.

Although the intraocular pressure was found to be only temporary during the study, researchers concluded that over time, lifting improperly can pose a dangerous risk for people predisposed to glaucoma, a serious eye condition that leads to blindness. To prevent this from happening, experts recommend that weightlifters continue to breathe normally during repetitions, as regular exhaling can decrease the amount of pressure in the eye. For more information about weightlifting and your vision, talk to an eye doctor on your True Care Advantage vision plan.