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DIY Halloween Kids Costumes

October is here which means Halloween is right around the corner. Picking out the perfect Halloween costume for kids can be a big deal, especially when they want to impress their friends while trick or treating. If your child wears glasses then they may ask to forgo their eyewear, concerned that it won’t fit with the style of their costume. Instead of tossing their glasses to the side, make their frames a core part of their Halloween costume.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite DIY costume ideas that feature glasses as a key costume component. Start by finding the costume below that works best with your child’s style or interest. If your child is due for a trendy new pair of glasses, we’ve also included where you can find each of the frames below.

Scientist

Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who enjoys science experiments, a scientist is just the thing.

Costume DIY:

  • A white lab coat
  • Black gloves
  • Plastic toy test tubes

Glasses: This costume works best with thick black frames.

Minion

Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who is feeling a little mischievous and really likes yellow, a Minion is the ideal choice.

Costume DIY:

  • Yellow shirt
  • Yellow beanie
  • Jean overalls
  • Black gloves

Glasses: This costume works best with grey round frames.

Where’s Waldo

Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who’s feeling adventurous, Where’s Waldo is the perfect match.

Costume DIY:

  • Red and white striped shirt
  • Red and white striped beanie
  • Jeans

Glasses: This costume works best with black or brown circular frames.

Cat Lady

Halloween kids costumes

For the kid who wants to be comfy while they trick or treat, a cat lady will do the trick.

Costume DIY:

  • A fuzzy pink bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • A few stuffed kitties
  • Velcro hair rollers

Glasses: This costume works best with bright colored frames, the brighter the better!

Your child is sure to have a new perspective on their glasses following Halloween this year. Just remember that no matter the costume, your child’s vision shouldn’t be obstructed, and they should be able to see properly for safe trick or treating. Happy Halloween!

Serious Diseases Detected Through an Eye Exam

“You’re an eye doctor? I’d come see you except I have really good vision.”

“I don’t need to check my vision. My glasses I got 10 years ago are still working fine.”

“My kids don’t need eye exams. They get a vision screening at school every year.”

In my 18 years of practicing optometry, I’ve heard all of these comments or something similar, and everytime I want to proclaim an important message: Protecting your vision requires maintaining good eye health. And better eye health requires annual eye exams.

Did you know, according to a recent survey conducted by VSP Vision Care and YouGov, eight-in-ten people rate vision as the most important sense and nearly everyone agrees that having healthy eyes is important, but only half of people actually get annual eye exams?! Although alarming, I’m not surprised as most people are unaware an annual eye exam can check for more than just clear vision and the need for glasses or contacts.

eye health

I’ve noticed that in my practice most people don’t associate their eyes with the rest of their body and overall health. Virtually no one knows that signs of serious diseases and conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid diseases, and certain types of cancers can be detected through an eye exam. In fact, the eyes and overall health are all connected. And eye doctors are frequently the first to detect signs of abnormal health conditions.

During an eye exam, eye doctors have an unobstructed view of blood vessels and the optic nerve which is an extension of the brain. In addition to the serious diseases noted above, we are also routinely checking for dry eyes, digital eye strain, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and so much more. Regardless of age or physical health, eye exams can identify early signs of eye conditions before they impair your vision or cause permanent vision loss.

Typically, after I share the importance of an annual eye exam, most patients I talk to agree that it is a necessary part of their overall health plan. If your vision is important to you and you want to protect it, schedule an eye exam with your local eye doctor and have your eyes examined. And don’t forget, kids need regular eye exams too! A majority of learning is visual and screenings performed at school or at the pediatrician’s office are not meant to be comprehensive.

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Mei Fleming, the founder and practicing optometrist at Luminance Vision Optometry in Lafayette, CA. She is also the creator and author of Eye Like Fashion.

What Are the Benefits of a Retinal Screening?

Getting an annual eye exam is about more than checking your vision. An eye doctor will examine everything from visual acuity to the pressure of your eyes to signs of any infections or diseases. They are looking at the overall health of your eyes. That’s why it’s so important they look at not just what’s in front of your eyes, but also what’s behind them. That’s where a retinal screening comes in.

What are the benefits of a retinal screening?

“[It] allows the doctor to have a wider view of the inside of your eyes without having to dilate your pupils,” explained Dr. Meghan Riegel.

This enlarged view can help eye doctors assess for conditions such as:

  • Retinal Detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

Dr. Riegel shared that retinal screenings use high-resolution imaging systems to take pictures of the inside of your eye. In addition to helping detect diseases early, these images provide a permanent and historical record of changes in your eye. Images can be compared side-by-side, year after year, to discover even subtle changes and help monitor your health.

“The screening helps me see inside of your eyes and its more convenient for you. It’s a win-win!” said Dr. Riegel.

Retinal screenings do not replace regular eye exams, and in some cases, dilation may still be necessary. Talk to your VSP network eye doctor to see if retinal screenings are right for you.

Attention Parents: Amblyopia Treatment

Attention Parents: Earlier is Better for Amblyopia Treatment

What is Amblyopia?

As the leading cause of visual impairment among children, amblyopia affects approximately 2 to 3 of every 100 children. The condition occurs when vision in one eye is reduced; though the eye may appear normal, the eye and the brain are not working together properly. Rather than taking the images from both the left and right eyes and combining them to make a 3-D image, the brain favors one eye’s image over the other. Over time, this scenario can lead to reduced vision in the weaker eye, which can cause amblyopic individuals to be slower with close-up tasks such as reading or computer work. Additionally, using one eye instead of two diminishes the field of vision and reduces depth perception, leading to frequent tripping or bumping into things.

What causes Lazy Eye?

Sometimes called lazy eye, amblyopia has two primary causes.

  1. Strabismic amblyopia is the most common version of lazy eye. While this type of amblyopia is often confused with strabismus (wandering eye) due to similar names and symptoms, the two are completely different issues. Strabismic amblyopia is caused by eye misalignment. As the eyes take in separate images that the brain can’t match up, the brain prioritizes the image received from one eye over the other.
  2. Refractive amblyopia is the second common type of lazy eye, in which there is a distinct discrepancy between the refractive abilities of the right and left eyes. One eye may be significantly more nearsighted, farsighted, or have greater astigmatism than the other. As a result, the brain relies on the stronger eye and ignores the blurred image, causing amblyopia in the underused eye.

There is a third, rare type of amblyopia, where vision is obstructed by visual occlusions such as congenital cataracts―called deprivation amblyopia. Unlike the more common causes of lazy eye which can often be addressed without surgery, this third type must be surgically corrected to allow normal vision development.

Earlier is better when it comes to treatment

Amblyopia is not only the top cause of eye impairment in kids; it is also the most common cause of monocular (single eye) issues among young and middle-aged adults. Unless lazy eye is effectively treated in early childhood, it almost always persists into adulthood. Fortunately, prospects are bright for children who receive treatment early, between the ages of 3 and 6.

If amblyopia is left untreated, or if treatment is delayed until the preteen or early teen years, it could mean the difference between full and partial recovery. Because the brain has ignored the weaker eye for so long, retraining it becomes more difficult, and vision in the affected eye may be permanently impaired, causing weak depth perception and peripheral vision.

Treatment options

The best treatment for amblyopia depends on its cause. For refractive amblyopia, the solution may be as simple as correcting the refractive error causing distorted images with glasses or contact lenses. For more extreme cases of refractive amblyopia as well as strabismic cases, optometrists often choose visual therapies.

Common treatment options include:

  • Patching the stronger eye to force usage of the weaker eye.
  • Eye drops that blur vision in the stronger eye, also to force the weaker eye to work.
  • Visual acuity exercises to strengthen the weaker eye and align the eyes for better function.

Regardless of treatment recommendation, compliance is key to successful recovery. Though children may cry or throw a tantrum in resistance to wearing an eye patch, time is of the essence in effectively treating the condition. The younger a child is, the faster treatment works to improve vision―so parents must be persistent and encouraging. Regular visits to the eye doctor to track treatment and changes are important, too.

School screenings rarely catch amblyopia

Amblyopia is best treated early and by a licensed optometrist. Preschool and elementary school eye screenings aren’t designed to diagnose amblyopia, and even pediatric vision screenings often fall short. Such screenings are often cursory and may miss up to 60% of children with vision problems; they are intended to indicate a potential need for further evaluation, not to catch underlying issues. As such, they are not a substitute for a visit to the optometrist. To ensure your child’s vision is its best for the school year, schedule a comprehensive eye exam today!