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Posts for: July, 2021

By Dr. Anne Georgulas
July 30, 2021
Tags: Glasses   Vision Screenings  
GlassesWe all want our children to be healthy and to have the best chance for success, especially once they start school. Of course, your child must be getting regular vision screenings with their pediatricians. After all, vision is critical to your child’s ability to learn, communicate, and understand, and vision problems can impact your child’s school performance and quality of life. Could your child need glasses? Here are some telltale signs.

You Catch Them Squinting When Reading

When your eyes have trouble focusing on an image, squinting may actually help your child see or focus better. Your child may squint when reading anything far away such as a menu behind a restaurant counter or when reading the chalkboard at school. Your child’s teacher may even let you know that your child needed to move closer to the front to see what was written on the chalkboard. This is a telltale sign that your child needs to have their vision evaluated by their pediatrician.

Sitting Close to the TV

Another sign that your child may have trouble with their vision is if they put phones and other electronic devices close to their face to see it. Your child may also sit really close to the TV. These could be signs of nearsightedness.

Nightly Headaches

If your child’s eyes have been overworked and straining all day your child might complain of frequent headaches, particularly in the evening.

Difficulties in School

When parents and teachers notice that their child is having trouble focusing on work they may immediately think that they have ADHD, but sometimes bad vision is actually the culprit. If your child can’t properly see the board, it’s no surprise that their attention focuses on other things. This is when you should talk to your child and find out if they are having trouble seeing the board. It might not be behavioral issues, it might just mean that they need to get an eye exam.

If you are noticing changes in your child’s vision, or if your child mentions having blurry vision or trouble seeing, you must schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. While your pediatrician does have the tools necessary for hearing and vision screenings, they can also refer your child to a pediatric optometrist who can provide further and specialized vision testing and fit them with glasses, if necessary.

By Dr. Anne Georgulas
July 14, 2021
Vitamin DVitamin D deficiency is incredibly widespread in the US, and not just with adults! In fact, about one in 10 children in the US are deficient in vitamin D and as many as 60 percent could have “suboptimal levels” of vitamin D, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is why all pediatricians need to screen children for a vitamin D deficiency, as this can impact bone growth, metabolism, and multiple organs and systems.
 
The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is critical for all of us, but especially children. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium, as well as for the support and development of a healthy body. Children with severe vitamin D deficiencies may develop muscle weakness, delayed motor development, rickets, and fractures.
 
Where to Get Vitamin D

Unlike most vitamins, which we can often get through diet alone, vitamin D is acquired through time spent in the sun. You won’t find many foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Unfortunately, if you’re in a place that doesn’t get much sunlight then chances are good your child may not be getting enough vitamin D.

Children get about 80 percent of their vitamin D from sunlight. So if your child doesn’t spend much time outdoors (especially during the winter months) it’s a good idea to talk with your pediatrician about ways to ensure that your child is getting enough vitamin D.

Children with certain health problems such as cystic fibrosis or celiac disease, as well as children who’ve undergone bone surgeries may require more vitamin D. This is something you should discuss with your pediatrician. Children over 1-year-old need at least 600 IU of vitamin D (or more) a day. Ideally, children should get around 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

We also know that too much time in the sun can also pose risks for children, especially their skin. During the summer months, children only need a few minutes a day in the sun to get enough vitamin D. During the winter months, kids should get about 2-3 hours per week. Children under 6 months old should never be placed in direct sunlight.

Children with darker skin will also need to spend more time in the sun to produce the same levels of vitamin D as kids with lighter skin. Just sitting inside near windows won’t be enough for your child’s body to produce vitamin D.
 
Nothing is more important than keeping your child healthy. If your child hasn’t been checked for a vitamin D deficiency, you must talk with your pediatrician to find out if this screening is right for them. Fortunately, if you find out that your child is deficient, it’s an easy fix!