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Building a Healthy Community


Bed Bugs
Dental Hygiene
Diabetes and Exercise
Head Lice
Meth Abuse
Personal Hygiene
Tuberculosis (TB)


How Eyes Work

The eyeball includes the cornea (say: kor-nee-uh), clear tissue that helps the eye focus; the iris, the colored part; the pupil, which lets light into the eye; and the retina, at the very back of the eye. When all of the eyes' parts are working properly, a kid doesn't have vision problems. You can see because your eyes capture an image and send that image to your brain, where it can be interpreted. For instance, if there's an elephant in front of you, almost instantly, your brain says, "Hey, that's an elephant."
Your eyes need to bend light rays so the image can be focused sharply on your retina. The better your retina records the image, the more likely that your brain will interpret the image, and the more likely you will see the image clearly.
Refracting is a big word that means bending light rays. If a person has vision trouble, it's often a refractive problem. Glasses or contact lenses work so well because they can correct refractive problems. In other words, they bend the light rays in a way that lets you see more clearly. Laser surgery also can correct some vision problems, but it's not recommended for kids because they're still growing.


  • You should always avoid touching your eyes and make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands before touching your face.


  • The eyes grow and change quickly in the first few years of life. Regular eye examinations are important to make sure a child’s eyes and vision are developing normally. If problems are found early, they can be treated before any damage is done to the child’s vision including permanent loss of vision.

Eye Exams


If you're having trouble with your vision, your mom or dad can take you for an eye exam. This might happen as part of your regular checkup at the doctor. But you need to see a vision specialist if your parents or your doctor think you might need glasses.
You might see an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or an optician. What's the difference? An ophthalmologist is a doctor trained to treat vision problems who may also do eye surgery.
An optometrist is a licensed professional who specializes in eye exams and in figuring out the right prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Opticians make or sell eyeglasses and contact lenses according to an ophthalmologist's or optometrist's prescription.
At your eye exam, you'll probably be asked to read from an eye chart. This is the chart with letters in different sizes. You also might be asked to look at some text up close, like reading from a book. These tests measure how well you see from close and from far away.
If you need glasses or contact lenses, there's a special gizmo that lets you try a few different prescriptions until you find the one that gives you the clearest vision. It's kind of like a big pair of glasses, but a bunch of different lenses can be switched in and out really quickly.
The person doing your eye exam may switch between two different lenses and say, "Like this or like this?" You'll have to say which one looks clearest. If you're not sure, say so. Remember, the idea is that you get the right prescription so your vision will be top-notch!

What is a lazy eye and how is it treated?

The term "lazy eye" is a misnomer for poor vision in one eye, though the eye appears to be normal. If a condition causes a child to favor one eye, poor vision might occur in the eye that is not being used. The medical term for this condition is amblyopia.

Amblyopia is treated by:

Amblyopia is reversible in the first nine to 10 years of life but is best treated very early. The younger the child is at the beginning of therapy, the faster the recovery of vision. It is important that when you have problems seeing or are prone to repeated eye infections that you see a doctor or school nurse.

What Is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis (say: kon-jung-tih-vy-tis) is the most common eye problem kids can have. It can cause redness, itching, inflammation (say: in-fla-may-shun) or swelling, and a clear or white, yellow, or greenish gooey liquid to collect in the eyes.

It's called pinkeye because the white part of the eye and inside the eyelids become red or pink when you have it. Pinkeye may start in one eye, but many people get conjunctivitis in both eyes at the same time. Conjunctivitis usually doesn't hurt, but itching can be annoying. Sometimes it feels like you have an eyelash or a speck of sand in your eye and can't get it out.

Conjunctivitis lasts a short time, usually about a week or less, and then goes away by itself or after treatment, permitting that you do not continue to touch the eye and make sure to keep the area clean.

You can get conjunctivitis by touching the hand of an infected friend who has touched his or her eyes. If you then touch your eyes, the infection can be spread to you. Washing your hands often with warm, soapy water is the best way to avoid being infected with conjunctivitis.

Kids also get conjunctivitis because of allergies or because they get something irritating in their eyes, but these kinds of conjunctivitis are not contagious.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have It?

If your eyes are itchy, red, or more crusty than usual in the morning, you should tell a parent. Don't wait, because conjunctivitis spreads easily. Your mom or dad probably will call the doctor for an appointment.

click here for printable fact sheet about vision and eyes

Taking care of your eyes crossword puzzle

Taking care of your eyes crossword puzzel answer key

Information compiled from

"Malamapono no na keiki i ka pae 'aina o Hawaii"~
Caring for the children of Hawaii