May is Healthy Vision Month and there is no better time to teach children about eye health and safety. Whether you are a classroom teacher or school nurse, you have the power to change the way students think about vision. Sponsored by the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health, Healthy Vision Month was designed as a way to bring awareness to the importance of eye care.
Simple eye care routines can help children see better for longer. From washing hands before handling contact lenses, to eating a diet rich in fruits and leafy green vegetables, to wearing sunglasses while outside – kids need to know that it is important, and relatively easy, to take care of their eyes. The National Eye Institute has free downloadable resources on their website that can help teachers talk with their students about eye care and safety. Other ideas for quick and easy eye safety lesson plans include the following ideas.
May is Healthy Vision Month
If your students are always forgetting their sunglasses, this handy reminder will help them remember. Cut out a sunglasses shape from heavy card stock. Have the students use bright markers, crayons and colored pencils to color in the frames. Where the lenses would be, write “Got Glasses?” Have students write their names on the back and then laminate them with clear contact paper or the laminating machine. Punch a hole at the top of the cut out glasses and hang a loop of string, so that the reminder can be conveniently hung by the front door
Eye See You!
Download this eye diagram that allows students to label the parts of the eye. Basic explanations are great for younger students, while older middle school students may enjoy a more detailed description.
When talking about vision, it is almost impossible not to talk about blindness. To give students a first hand look at what being blind might be like, have them go on a guided walk around the school. Have students partner up with a buddy. Secure blindfolds around one student in each pair. Then, take the students on a short, pre-planned walk somewhere around the school. The “sighted” partner will be responsible for guiding the blindfolded partner around corners and obstacles. Half-way through the walk, have the students stop and switch the blindfold to the other partner. Once back to the classroom, have students write about how it felt to not be able to see.
Teaching children about eye safety is important. If possible, schedule vision screenings with the school nurse or have an optometrist visit the class as a guest presenter. Healthy eyes make a world of difference when students are trying to learn.