If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard a number of “facts” about your child’s health. As a good parent, you want to separate the real ones from myths. Today, CEENTA’s pediatric ophthalmologists and the American Academy of Ophthalmology want to discuss seven myths about your child’s eyes.

Myth one: Pink eye is only a child’s disease

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is certainly common in small children. However, teenagers, college students, and adults can get the disease, too. People are urged to clean their contact lenses and practice good hygiene, such as keeping their hands clean, not touching their eyes, and using clean towels to avoid contracting or spreading pink eye.

Myth two: Antibiotics are necessary to cure pink eye

Antibiotics are rarely necessary. Most cases of pink eye are viral, which means antibiotics would not work against them. Allergies can also cause some pink eye cases, so antibiotics wouldn’t work for those patients, either. Even some cases of mild bacterial conjunctivitis will clear up on their own after one to two weeks.

Myth three: The sun is bad for your child’s eyes

Some sunlight is good for your child’s visual development. Some studies have shown that children who don’t get enough sun exposure have a greater chance of developing nearsightedness. Of course, too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause health concerns like cataracts later in life, so make sure your children wear sunglasses and other sun protection when outside.

Myth four: Blue light is bad for their eyes

Blue light does not blind children or cause nearsightedness. While parents may hear cautionary tales about blue light from smart devices, people are exposed to more blue light from the sun than from screens. Still, it’s recommended children take regular breaks from their phones and tablets and reduce the risk of eyestrain by following the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, they should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Myth five: Only adults can lose their vision

A child with amblyopia, sometimes known as “lazy eye,” can lose their vision because their eye and brain aren’t working together properly, thus reducing their vision. Strabismus, or “crossed eyes,” can cause vision loss because the eyes aren’t lined up in the same direction when trying to focus on an object.

Myth six: If your child is farsighted, they’ll need glasses

Many children are, in fact, farsighted when they’re very young. They don’t need glasses, though, because their focusing muscles are strong enough to provide clear distance and near vision. It’s when their farsightedness is so severe that their vision blurs that glasses become necessary. Also, if one eye is more farsighted than the other, glasses are needed so the child doesn’t develop amblyopia.

Myth seven: All eye exams are created equal

Children should get regular eye exams, but for some children a less-invasive vision screening is adequate. If, however, a problem is detected, they may be referred to an ophthalmologist, who will give them a more comprehensive eye exam. This would include the use of dilating eye drops, which allows a doctor to perform a more thorough investigation of the eyes.

CEENTA has four premier pediatric ophthalmologists who have all completed fellowship training in children’s eye conditions. They are available in our child-friendly offices throughout the Charlotte area:

Taressa Haney, MD

Taressa Haney, MD (Blakeney)

Elliot McKee, MD

Elliot McKee, MD (SouthPark, Belmont, Statesville)

Timothy Saunders, MD

Timothy Saunders, MD (SouthPark, Matthews)

Erin Schotthoefer, MD

Erin Schotthoefer, MD (Huntersville, University)

If your child needs an eye exam, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a doctor who knows the facts about healthy eyes.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Do you or your child need an eye exam? Call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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