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Fun Holiday Gifts That Are GOOD for Children's Vision

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The holiday season is on our doorstep. With technology so much a part of our lives, the easy go-to gifts for kids often include an enormous array of hand-held video devices and home gaming systems. Did you know that after extensive use these games can be harmful to children’s eyes and might even induce eye strain and focusing issues?

If you want to buy wisely for your children or grandchildren this year,  choose a fun gift that actually develops and promotes visual skills such as eye hand coordination, visualization, depth and space perception and fine motor skills all while they have fun playing.

Here is a list of games and toys that help to develop visual skills, while engaging children in fun activities. 

First, a basic rule:  Always ensure the toys are suited to the child's development and level of maturity. Manufacturers often provide suggested ages for a toy, but keep the individual child in mind as children develop at different rates.

  1.  What to buy: building toys

How they help children's vision: develop eye hand coordination and visualization and imagination skills.

Examples: Lego, Duplo, Mega Bloks, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Clics

   2.  What to buy: fine motor skill toys and arts and crafts

How they help children's vision: develop visual skills and manual eye hand coordination.

Examples: finger paints, playdough, coloring books, dot to dot activities, pegboard and pegs, origami sets, stringing beads, whiteboard/easel/chalkboard.

   3.  What to buy: space perception toys and games

How they help children's vision: develop depth perception and eye hand coordination.

Examples within arm’s length: pick- up sticks, marbles, Jenga

Examples beyond arm’s length: any kind of ball, ping pong, bean bag toss.

   4.  What to buy: visual/spatial thinking toys and games

How they help children's vision: develop visual thinking including visualization, visual memory, form perception, pattern recognition, sequencing and eye tracking skills. These skills are vital basics for academics including mathematics, reading and spelling.

Examples: memory games, jigsaw puzzles, Rory's story cubes, card games (Old Maid, Go Fish, etc.), Dominoes, checkers, Chinese checkers, Rush Hour/Rush Hour Jr., Bingo, Color Code, Math Dice.  

   5.  What to buy: balance and coordination toys and games

How they help children's vision: develop gross motor skills which require use of vision

Examples: jump rope, trampoline, stilts, Twister.

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing toys available to improve your child's visual skills. The best part is, many of them take the children away from the screen and get them thinking, moving and creating. This year, choose a holiday present that will help your children grow, develop and see a better future. 

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As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent calls during this challenging time.

We are officially closing our offices effective at 3:00pm today, March 20 th and tentatively plan to reopen on April 1 st . We are rescheduling all routine visits and are available by phone to triage ocular emergencies.

Our phone lines will be open:

Monday the 23 rd and 30 th : 10:00am to 5:00pm

Tuesday-Friday (24 th -27 th and the 31 st ): 9:00am to 3:00pm

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination we will tentatively reschedule you starting April 1 st

2) If you are running out of a medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.

3) If you have an issue which cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a Telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.

4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call 1-850-455-0120 andwait for instructions at the end of the message.

Dr. Leonard or Dr. Charbonneau will discuss your condition by phone and make the best treatment decision for you on a one on one basis.

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The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.

https://bit.ly/2WxWYIe and https://bit.ly/33FBlXZ

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health we remain at your service,

Dr. Clare L Leonard

Dr. Mary Charbonneau