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Focusing on Kids’ Eye Safety

Sometimes it's challenging to know which toys are not harmful for our kids' eyes.

Children are born with only semi-formed vision. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development more efficiently than play, which encourages hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Good toys to encourage an infant's sight in his or her first year include toys with basic shapes or colors, and activities that have interactive or removable objects, puppets and balls. In the initial three months of life, babies can't entirely see color, so simple black and white pictures are really great for their age group.

Since children spend a large amount of their day using toys, it is up to us to check that their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their overall wellbeing. Firstly, to be safe, toys must be age-appropriate. Hand-in-hand with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to be sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Despite the fact that toy companies mention targeted age groups on the box, as a parent, you still need to make the call, so your son or daughter doesn't play with something that might be damaging in any way.

Blocks are appropriate for almost every age group, but for younger children, you need to inspect them for sharp edges and corners, to decrease the chance of danger to the eyes, or any other part of the body. You should also take note of toy size. With toddlers, a toy that can fit into their mouths is not something they should be playing with. Put that small toy away until your son or daughter is older.

Any plush toys are best if machine washable, and, for younger children, free of very small parts to pull off, such as buttons or ribbons. Don't buy toys with edges or sharp components for a young child, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the ends aren't sharp. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, be wary of toys which shoot, like dart guns. Even when they're older than 6, always pay close attention with toys like that. On the other hand, if you have older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they are wearing protective eyewear.

So when you next find yourself shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, keep a close eye out for the manufacturers' warning about the intended age range for the toy. Ensure that toys you buy don't pose any harm to your child's eyes - even if your child really wants it.

Dear Patients,

Dr. Lewis Eye Care has made the difficult choice to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic based on the recommendation of the CDC. We cannot perform eye exams while maintaining social distancing, so continuing to see patients at this time could contribute to the spread of the virus.

Our initial plan had been to reopen Monday April 6th. However, as we get closer to that date it is becoming apparent that we may have to be closed for a longer, indefinite period of time.

If you are having an urgent eye health issue, there are some clinics in our area that are seeing patients for emergencies during shorter business hours. You should call ahead to those offices before going to their clinic, as their availability might change day by day. Those clinics could include Vancouver Eye Care at 360-823-2020, Peace Health Medical Group Eye Care at 360-514-7210, and Vancouver Clinic in Salmon Creek at 360-882-2778.

If you need a glasses or contact lens prescription emailed to you from our office, click on the Contact Form link, type in your name, email, and what you are requesting, and we will email you the information you need as soon as we can.

Thank you for your understanding, and please stay healthy during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Scott Lewis, OD