What You Need to Know About the Think About Your Eyes Campaign
Eighty percent of everything children learn comes through their eyes. We’ve all heard the stories of intelligent children struggling with performance in school because they have trouble seeing. Vision problems can be putting your kids at risk since they have been associated with delayed development, poor performance in school, and low self-esteem. In fact, according to a study by Think About Your Eyes, 60% of students identified as problem learners actually had undetected vision problems.
For many children, their eyesight will change so slowly over time, that they may not even be aware that their vision has declined, which – when undetected – can hamper their learning. And, because most children don’t know even what “normal” vision looks like, parents shouldn’t wait for children to say they aren’t seeing well to schedule a comprehensive, in-person eye exam from an optometrist.
That’s why an annual comprehensive eye exam, something that is often overlooked, is such an important part of a child’s yearly health check-up that should be at the top of every parent’s to-do list in the summertime – before the kids head back to school.
Dr. Bazan and boxer Laila Ali talked with EverydayFamily’s Shiloh Johnson to tell us more about the Think About Your Eyes campaign. It is a national public awareness campaign in partnership with the American Optometric Association encouraging consumers to schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam and promote overall vision health. See the full interview here:
Ali shared her story, to tell us more about why she is so passionate about the Think About Your Eyes campaign. Ali started wearing glasses at 11 years old. She had begun squinting in class, was having trouble seeing the board, and was getting headaches frequently. Her teacher said to her mother, “You should go get Laila’s eyes checked.” That’s how she found out she needed glasses in the first place.
Ali really recommends getting annual comprehensive eye exams, not just for yourself, but for your infants and children, too. She explained, “My daughter also wears glasses. As a parent, you think your kid will tell you they’re having trouble seeing. Or you’ll notice that there’s a problem. But again, her teacher told me to get her eyes checked.” Ali’s daughter was 5 years old when she got her glasses.
And of course, our eyes change over the years, and we need to get them checked over and over. Ali noted that as a boxer, she got her eyesight corrected (because it’s important to see opponents in the ring). “But,” she said, “15 years later, I’m back to wearing glasses and contacts.” So annual exams really are important, no matter how old you are.
You can start scheduling a comprehensive eye exam for your child as early as between 6 months and one year of age. Dr. Bazan noted that many parents wonder how you can even do a comprehensive exam for a baby, so they don’t bother to schedule one. But if you wait until kids are older, be aware that screenings are missing 75% of vision problems in kids. The only way to really know about any eye problems is to take your kids in for a comprehensive annual exam. These eye doctors have special training and special equipment, and they can do a great job of identifying problems early on that would impede the normal development of your kid. As Dr. Bazan says, early detection is the key!
According to the study by Think About Your Eyes Survey, people care about eyesight and eye health but don’t really take action and schedule comprehensive annual eye exams. Why? Dr. Bazan explained that most parents wait until there’s a problem that is picked up on, where they notice the problem or a teacher tells them. Or they’re relying on a screening to tell them there’s a problem. Or for their kid to say something. Dr. Bazan recommends that all parents go to the website thinkaboutyoureyes.com. Here, parents can quickly and easily find a doctor near them and schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Bazan reiterated, “There is no substitution for an in person, annual, comprehensive eye exam.”
Lastly, do you have to look for a pediatric eye doctor, specifically? Dr. Bazan told us that the eye doctors at thinkaboutyoureyes.com all have the ability to see the pediatric population, and will say in their profile if they work with infants as young as 6 months to a year old.
Good luck out there, parents. Remember to Think About Your Eyes!
Laila Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness & wellness expert, TV host, cooking enthusiast, founder of the Laila Ali Lifestyle Brand, and mother of two. Ali is the daughter of late beloved global icon and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali. She is a four-time undefeated boxing world champion, whose stellar record includes 24 wins (21 of which were “knockouts”) and zero losses. She is heralded as the most successful female in the history of women’s boxing.
Justin Bazan, OD, a 2004 SUNY grad, is the owner of Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, N.Y., which he established in 2008. Dr. Bazan is a recognized international speaker, with an emphasis on practice management, both in the eyecare industry and small business world.