Healthy vision is a precious gift that not everyone gets to enjoy. Some are born with vision problems while others suffer accidents that impair their eyesight. Protect your child’s vision proactively rather than waiting for an accident to happen. Once injured, some eye problems can never be completely resolved, so follow simple steps like these.

Use Sports Gear

Kids love to play sports, but many athletic activities require or recommend protective eye gear. Make sure your child has and consistently wears the right type of eye protection for the sport being played. Water sports, baseball, and other competitive games often require eyewear as a protective measure, so don’t let your child skip it.

Start Sunglasses Early

Your family’s pediatrician or eye doctor can suggest the best time for your child to start wearing sunglasses. Protecting kids’ eyes from an early age helps to delay or prevent the onset of later eye problems and vision issues. Get your child a pair that fits his or her face comfortably with wraparound earpieces to completely shield eyes from the sun’s rays. Sunglasses can be worn in the car on sunny days as well as when playing outdoors or while at the beach.

Report Eye Problems Immediately

If your child gets an eye injury, let the eye doctor know right away. The doctor can advise you whether an examination is necessary, and if so, whether it should be done at the doctor’s office or the emergency room. For example, getting a gritty substance or chemical in the eye may require a certain type of test with equipment usually found more in ER departments than a doctor’s office. Bruising in or around the eye or any type of injury should be checked out.

Schedule Routine Vision Checkups

Just like getting periodic dental exams, kids should see an eye doctor to have their vision checked usually before they start kindergarten. The doctor can screen the child’s vision to ensure it is normal for the child’s age as well as check for conditions that may need to be treated, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism. Catching a condition early allows a better chance of healing or improving the condition to help the child’s vision for the future.

Your little one’s eyes are not beautiful to look at but also functional for everyday life. Do everything possible to guard your child’s vision and keep it safe from injury and disease.