Prevent Blindness America Calls Attention to Children's Eye Health With Back-to-School Tips

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CHICAGO— As the back-to-school season reaches its peak this month, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is calling upon caregivers and educators to make eye health a priority while preparing for the upcoming year. Part of their declaration of August as Children’s Eye Health Month, the PBA program aims to educate parents and teachers on the importance of healthy vision by providing tips and tools for the new school year.

Topics highlighted for families, available for free on the PBA website, include signs of possible eye problems in children; taking your child to an eye doctor; your child's glasses; protecting your child's eyes from the sun; keeping your child safe from eye injuries; and home eye tests for children.

Materials for educators include the Star Pupils Eye Health and Safety Curriculum for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8, available for free download upon request. The curriculum provides teachers with interactive materials which help students learn the importance of sight, components of the eye and how the eye sees, as well as how to identify objects and situations that can be dangerous to eyes. The program meets National Health, National Science and National Physical Education standards and includes presentation guides, eye exam diagrams, in-class worksheets and an activity book for children to take home.

PBA additionally emphasized findings from its recent report, Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States. According to the study, 2013 estimates report that in one year, vision disorders in children aged 0-17 cost the U.S. more than $5.7 billion in direct and indirect costs. If detected early, many of these eye problems, like amblyopia and strabismus, can be successfully treated thus deterring future costs.