Is Your Kid’s Eye Health Affecting Their Grades?

Kid's Eye HealthHave you seen your bright, hard-working child’s grades begin an unexplained slide? There is a good possibility that the cause has nothing to do with a change in work habits. Your kid’s eye health plays a significant role in successful classroom learning and homework completion.

How vision and learning are connected

While many people learn more easily through seeing rather than hearing, the concept is particularly true for kids. You might be surprised to learn that during your child’s first year of school, approximately 80 percent of the learning process occurs visually.

Impaired eyesight has a secondary effect that also impacts learning. Poor vision is linked to behavioral problems, which can result in reduced or non-existent concentration and focus.

Diagnosing vision problems

Children have a difficult time communicating about illness or other physical problems they are experiencing. Compounding the issue is the likelihood that your kid doesn’t have enough life experience to realize that there is a problem.

An optometrist can perform a thorough exam to evaluate all aspects of your kid’s eye health. Tests are conducted to determine visual acuity, eye muscle balance and other measures related to vision and overall wellness. Schedule eye exams annually to monitor changes that occur during the growing process.

What if your child needs glasses?

Wearing glasses will require a major adjustment for your child. Make the transition smoother by letting him or her be actively involved in the choice. Allow your kid some leeway in the style so the final selection will express his or her personality, making the wearing of glasses more fun and less of a burden.

Our knowledgeable and caring optometrists are as concerned about your kid’s eye health as you are. Book an appointment today at Valley Eyecare Center and have your child ready to make this the best school year yet.

Protecting Your Eyes During Football Season

eye_safetyWith the kids heading back to school and joining sports teams, it’s important to keep eye safety in mind.

Football is notorious for all sorts of injuries, but eye injuries are extreme hindrances to daily activities—whether in the form of UV sun damage, flying dirt from the football field or direct trauma to the eye area.

Whether your child is at football practice after school or in the middle of a tournament, eye protection is always of the utmost importance. Here at Valley Eyecare Center, we have a few tips on how to keep the eyes safe during this sports season.

With all the running and kicking involved in football, it is easy to get dirt or other debris lodged in the eyes. There are goggles and protective eyewear available that are compatible with football helmets. That way, your child is safe this season from getting debris in the eyes that could impair his or her vision during a big game.

During practice, kids don’t often think about the UV exposure their eyes are receiving. Goggles equipped with UV shading or sunglasses worn under a helmet will help boost eye safety and protect the eyes from harmful UV rays during practice or a game.

A protective helmet that shields the eyes from a flying elbow, a kicking leg or a rogue pigskin is always a must when it comes to playing football. A blunt-force injury to the eye area can be detrimental to one’s vision, so it is crucial to wear proper gear during sports season this year.

If you have more questions about how to practice eye safety during football season or how you can help equip your kids with proper eye protection, book an appointment with us at Valley Eyecare Center today! Give us a call at (602) 955-2700.

How Often You Should Get an Eye Exam

eye_examsEye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. Regular checkups should occur every one to three years, depending on your eye health history and related risk factors.

Children who have no eye damage or are not at risk of eye issues should see their eye doctor at Valley Eyecare Center about every two years for a checkup. On the other hand, children who wear glasses or contact lenses should be scheduled for an annual eye exam.

Adults between the age of 18 and 60 should have eye exams every two years (and annually for anyone above the age of 60). Risk factors for eye problems include diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of macular degeneration and glaucoma. Anyone who is associated with any of these risks should schedule their eye checkups on a more frequent basis, or as recommended by your eye care professional at Valley Eyecare Center.

If you have had eye surgery in the past or if your job poses daily hazards to your eyesight, be sure to schedule your checkups more frequently.

We offer comprehensive eye checkups to test your vision and see if you have ocular allergies or diseases, and if you need corrective lenses to help boost your visual clarity.

It is important to book your appointments in a time frame that is appropriate for you and your children’s eye health status. If you run the risk of eye damage, book an annual appointment or a time when your eye doctor sees fit. Patients with no risks and no corrective lenses are safe to book eye exams about every two years, unless instructed otherwise.

Book your next eye exam with us at Valley Eyecare Center so we can help answer any questions you may have and ensure that your eyes are healthy.

5 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Eyes

Childrens_Eye_CareEye health should never be taken for granted, no matter what age. Teaching your kids the right way to care for their eyes instills habits that will stay with them into adulthood. Use these children’s eye care tips to protect their vision from the start.

Select toys carefully

Make sure your child has age-appropriate toys without sharp edges or projections that could injure his/her eyes. Include toys that encourage visual development. Chalkboards, coloring books and crayons, jigsaw puzzles, Legos, construction sets and building blocks are all good choices that will help to build visual skills while supporting children’s eye care.

Use protection in sunlight

When your child is outdoors, he should be wearing sunglasses with UV-coated lenses or a wide-brimmed hat to protect his eyes from dangerous rays. This is particularly important for kids with light-colored eyes that are extra-sensitive to the sun. Make it fun by choosing a style of kids’ sunglasses with bright colors or a popular TV or movie character. And what kid doesn’t like wearing baseball caps?

Child-proof your home

Household accidents are one of the most common causes of eye injuries in children. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases and make sure the surface of the steps is non-slip. Place cushions on sharp corners and edges of furniture and fixtures. Store paints, fertilizers, household cleaners and other chemical-based products in a secured area. Install cabinet and drawer locks to keep cosmetics, kitchen utensils and other objects out of reach.

Provide a healthy diet

Plan meals with a variety of foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, all of which have been linked to good eye health. Carrots, salmon, tuna, citrus fruits, berries, nuts and sunflower seeds are some of the foods that are sources of these nutrients as well as antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

Schedule regular eye exams

Many eye issues can be successfully treated when they’re detected early enough. Your optometrist can also advise you on children’s eye care news and tips. Take your child in immediately if you see signs such as crossed eyes or cloudiness in the pupil.

Your child’s eyes are meant to last a lifetime. Contact Valley EyeCare Center to start a lifetime program of proper eye care.


Prevent Eye Injury This Summer

Eye_InjurySummers are filled with opportunities for lasting memories—but you don’t want a trip to the emergency room to be one of them. This summer, it’s important that you take extra precautions to prevent an eye injury, as July is National Prevention of Eye Injury Awareness Month.

While swimming, be wary of pool toys like torpedoes that could seriously damage an eye if precautionary steps aren’t taken. Be sure the kids wear goggles when swimming underwater to also protect their eyes from hazardous pool chemicals.

July will bring plenty of fireworks displays—but even an evening of hot dogs, music and celebratory fireworks can end in disaster. Never stand too close to a lit firework, keep glass out of the way, and consider wearing protective eye goggles for the more power-packed fireworks.

Wear effective sunglasses to prevent burned corneas or damaged eyesight.
Summer is also a time for home projects. Be sure to wear proper protective eyewear to avoid flying debris like wood chips, nails, etc.
Summer sports, especially with kids, can be hazardous to the eyes. Prevent a serious eye injury by wearing protective gear in sports like softball, baseball or even activities like paintball.

Bugs are especially prevalent during summer’s many outdoor activities. Be careful not to spray bug spray near or into the eyes. The same goes for sunscreen—any sort of chemical in the eyes is never a good thing.

Anything from pool toys and chemicals to fireworks and bug spray could end in a painful or costly eye injury. Be sure to take the extra steps this summer to avoid a trip to the emergency room during National Prevention of Eye Injury Awareness Month!

If you do experience an eye injury that cannot be flushed out with water, contact Valley Eyecare Center for all your eye care needs.

When to Start Visiting the Eye Doctor

Young girl smiling while undergoing eye test with phoropterChildren’s eye care should begin as soon as birth, and should then continue regularly throughout childhood. Just as you take your child to the pediatrician for check-ups, you need to have his or her eyes routinely checked for signs of potential problems. Early eye health and vision checks will be done at your pediatrician or family doctor, but any concerns should immediately be taken to a certified eye doctor. Here’s a general guideline for taking care of your children’s eye care needs.

Infants and Toddlers

Newborn babies are generally checked for eye health while still in the hospital, soon after birth. From that point, professionals recommend all infants be routinely screened for eye health during the first year of life. These screenings are done during regular check-ups by the baby’s primary care physician. Additionally, the American Optometric Association (AOA) states that infants should receive their first comprehensive eye exam when they reach six months of age.

Beginning around the age of three, children should start receiving visual acuity tests, which measure vision sharpness, in addition to general eye health screenings.

School-Aged Children

The next eye exam a child should have is around the age of five or six, before entering the first grade. From that point on, the AOA recommends a comprehensive eye exam every two years if there are no vision problems present in your child. However, if correction is needed through glasses or contact lenses, then your child should see an eye doctor once a year, or as determined by the optomologist.

Signs of Eye Trouble

In addition to the above schedule, children should see an eye doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Constant rubbing of the eyes;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Problems focusing;
  • Trouble visually tracking objects;
  • Chronic eye redness;
  • Chronic eye tearing;
  • White pupils.

Maintaining regular children’s eye care is important not only to their eye health, but also to their ability to do well in school. Childhood eye exams set your child up for a lifetime of success by detecting and preventing problems early. For more information or to schedule an eye exam for your child, contact Valley EyeCare Center in Phoenix today.

How Does Swimming Affect Your Eye Health?

Activities at the pool, children swimming and playing in water, happiness and summertimeEveryone enjoys a dip in a nice, cool pool during the sweltering summer months – especially in Arizona. But what does swimming do to your eye health? Does exposure to chlorine cause permanent damage to your eyes? What are the effects of swimming while wearing contact lenses? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.

What Chlorine Does to Your Eyes

While there’s no evidence of long-term damage to eye health due to chlorine exposure, there are dangers associated with it. Contrary to popular belief, though, these dangers aren’t simply a result of your eyes coming in contact with the chemical. In actuality, the redness and discomfort that sometimes accompany swimming are caused by bacteria that lingers in the water. This is because, when submerged in chlorine-treated water, your eyes lose the tear film that protects against infection.

Even though the purpose of chlorine in pools is to reduce the amount of harmful bugs, some contaminants are resistant to the chlorine that is used. This means the health of your eyes can be compromised with infections caused by bugs still lingering in the water. The most common infection swimmers experience is pink eye.

Concerns for Contact Lens-Wearers

When you wear contact lenses while swimming, those lenses trap chemically-treated water, meaning your tear film has no chance of repairing itself and your eyes remain exposed to harmful bacteria. If you must swim in your lenses, eye health experts recommend rinsing them immediately after you swim, and avoiding sleeping in them. Failing to do so could lead to a serious eye condition called acanthamoebic keratitis, which has been known to cause blindness in serious cases.

Protecting Your Eye Health This Summer

It’s not all bad news – you don’t have to completely avoid the pool this summer in order to maintain your eye health. Just be smart and take these precautions:

  • Wear goggles. Swimming goggles reduce your eyes’ exposure to chlorine, meaning your tear film stays in tact and helps prevent any issues.
  • Use eye drops. Use lubricating drops to flush away any remaining chlorine and allow your tear film to get back to its job of protecting your eyes.
  • Take care of your contact lenses. As mentioned above, rinsing your contact lenses after swimming is crucial to avoid infection.

Don’t miss out on the fun this summer. Take steps to protect your eyes, and contact us for more information.

Children’s Eye Safety and Sports

Portrait of happy boy riding bicycle in the park with his parents behindApril is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month. For this reason, we’d like to focus on how you can keep your child’s eyes safe during recreational activities. The safety of your child’s eyes is not something to be taken lightly. Protecting your child’s vision is important now in order to set her up for fewer problems later in life.

When it comes to kids eye care, there is one sure-fire way to provide protection during sports: utilizing the proper protective eyewear. While you certainly don’t want to keep your kids from enjoying their favorite sports due to a high risk of eye injury, you should take every measure necessary to ensure their safety.

Sports and Kids Eye Care

Sports present many opportunities for injury in children, even more so than adults, since children’s bodies aren’t yet fully developed. The eyes are no exception to this rule. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, each year more than 40 percent of eye injuries occur as a result of sports or other recreational activities. The organization also reports that of the injuries noted, 78 percent happened to people not using protective eyewear.

Preventative Measures for Kids Eye Care

Such a simple thing makes such a huge impact in the health of your child’s eyes. Just as you would never think of letting your kid ride a bike without a helmet, so should you never let him play sports without protective eyewear. Will he mumble and complain? Sure, but it’s your job as his parent to secure the future of his eye health.

If you think your child may have already suffered an eye injury or is at high risk, call to schedule an appointment today. Don’t let another minute pass without taking your kid’s eye health seriously.


Low Vision Awareness Month

Phoenix OptometristFebruary is the time to observe Low Vision Awareness Month. Here is some information to help you better understand this condition.

What Is Low Vision?

The term “low vision” refers to sight that cannot be corrected with glasses, surgery or medication. This condition makes even everyday activities such as cooking, shopping or watching TV a serious challenge.

What Causes Low Vision?

A major cause of low vision is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As many as 15 million people over the age of 50 suffer from this condition which affects the macula, the part of your eye responsible for sharp detail. Other cases of low vision result from glaucoma, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. Some individuals are born with low vision due to optic nerve damage.

It’s important to emphasize that low vision does not mean the normal changes in eyesight that come with aging. Low vision can affect people of any age. If you have a hard time seeing clearly even with glasses or contact lenses, you should be tested.

How Is Low Vision Detected?

Your Phoenix optometrist can conduct a low vision examination. This procedure takes into account your daily functions and whether or not your vision is at a level to comfortably accommodate those activities. A yearly exam increases the chances of early detection, which is key to successful treatment. Thanks to medical advances, people with low vision are able to lead full, productive lives. Schedule an appointment with your Phoenix optometrist to learn more about low vision and proper care of your eyes.

Is My Child Ready For Contacts?

Many children reach the point when they ask, “Can I get contacts?” As a parent, you may wonder whether to let your child try them. Here’s what you need to consider:


Some children are happy to wear glasses, but others are dissatisfied. If your child complains about their glasses, you may want to talk to your eye-care professional about contact lenses.


If your child plays sports, contact lenses may offer an advantage. They won’t break like frames and lenses of glasses can. Your child will also be able to have clearer peripheral vision and won’t have to deal with frames that can get sweaty and uncomfortable.


In some cases, such as when a child is very nearsighted, he or she may be able to see better with contact lenses than with glasses.


If your child has poor self-esteem, contacts may help give them a boost. A three-year study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Optometry concluded that a child’s self-perception improved when wearing contact lenses. This is especially true of girls.

Seasonal allergies

Contact lenses can cause increased itching and burning in the eyes of contact wearers who have seasonal allergies, so if you child suffers from these, he or she may want to stick with glasses.

Dexterity and comfort level

Is your child able to take his or her contact lenses out and put them back in? It may take some practice, but he or she should be able to handle the daily maintenance on their own after some initial help. Age isn’t the only determining factor, because some young children are more at ease putting in and removing their contacts than adults are.


This is perhaps the most important factor. Will your child follow proper hygiene practices, or will he or she leave the contacts in for too long, possibly risking an infection? It’s important that he or she be able to follow the proper procedures, because contacts are a medical device that can cause serious damage if they’re misused.

Ultimately, letting your child wear contact lenses isn’t an all-or-nothing, lifelong decision. If you let them try it and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, your child can always go back to wearing glasses and perhaps try again when circumstances change.