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Children's Eye Health and Safety Month: Standards Keep Your Child's Vision in Sight

August marks the annual observance of Children's Eye Health and Safety Month, highlighting the important role that eye safety and eye exams play in safeguarding the sight of members of the next generation. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and its Federation of members are proud to support the development of a wide array of standards supporting products and technologies that enhance eye health and safety for children and adults alike.

One important step that all parents should take to help safeguard their children's sight is to make sure that they are receiving regular vision exams. These exams can help to catch potentially serious vision-related problems at an early stage, rendering them more treatable and reducing long-term risks. ANSI Z80.21-2010, Ophthalmics - Instruments - General-Purpose Clinical Visual Acuity Charts, sets down guidelines for the charts used in a wide variety of doctors' officers for vision tests, including charts that make use of projected or electronic images. This American National Standard (ANS) was developed by the Vision Council, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

While eye disorders can have many different causes - genetics, exposure to bacteria, and side effects from medication, among others - one significant cause of eye issues has the potential to affect anyone, regardless of background or genetic history, namely ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Thankfully, two International Standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) can help. ISO 12311:2013, Personal protective equipment - Test methods for sunglasses and related eyewear, provides test methods intended to help determine the properties of sunglasses covered by ISO 12312-1:2013, Eye and face protection - Sunglasses and related eyewear - Part 1: Sunglasses for general use. Both of these International Standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 94, Personal safety -- Protective clothing and equipment, Subcommittee (SC) 6, Eye and face protection. ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator to both ISO TC 94 and SC 6.

While regular eye exams and appropriate sunglasses can do a lot to support a child's eye health, there are significant eye safety concerns that come up over the course of childhood and adolescence that can require additional protection. CSA Z94.3-2007 (R2014), Eye and Face Protectors, provides protection guidelines for eye and face protectors used in educational environments, such as school wood shops, as well as in workplace settings. The standard covers hazards involving molten metal, flying particles and objects, and splashing liquids, among other concerns. It was developed by CSA Group, an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer. Of course, educational settings aren't the only place that a child can be struck in the eye by something harmful, with athletic- and game-related activities posing a particular threat. ASTM F1776-12, Standard Specification for Eye Protective Devices for Paintball Sports, provides specifications for protective devices for eyes, faces, and heads that are intended for use by individuals playing paintball, an athletic, shooting-based pastime enjoyed by many adolescents. This standard was developed by ASTM International.

Regular exams and appropriate eye protection can go a long way toward protecting your child's sight. And voluntary consensus standards are a valued ally in that effort, providing essential support to the activities and technologies that keep children's eyes safe and healthy.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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