I am a parent – of the ‘grand’ kind. I’ve raised my own children, and trust that they have the tools and wisdom now to raise theirs. But that being said, given the busy schedules and steep responsibilities of being a parent in today’s world, sometimes a grandparent can prove to be an effective healthcare advocate.
That’s just what happened to me with my 7-year-old grandson Logan and his journey to vision correction. In the course of a busy year, Logan’s mom – my daughter – let routines slip and some ‘well’ appointments fell by the wayside. She had always taken her children for eye exams but with just one annual visit missed, it was enough time for Logan’s vision to change dramatically.
When Logan complained about headaches, his parents didn’t attribute it to much else other than something fleeting – and while bothersome, inconsequential. But as the complaints continued, and I heard about it, it made me think twice. I suggested he get his eyes checked, and sure enough, the family’s eye care professional confirmed he was farsighted.
Logan got corrective glasses fairly quickly and they made a difference overnight. His spirits changed and headaches went away. The chain of events made me realize that vision just isn’t front-and-center for many parents. We take for granted that our children see well, and since they don’t necessarily express themselves, how are we to know? It’s not like a fever that you can quickly decipher.
While poor vision wasn’t an issue with Logan’s immediate family, my sister had a similar issue when she was a young girl. At the time, she was held back in school and labeled with a learning disability. Can you imagine? If they had checked her eyes from the start, she could have avoided repeating a year of school, not to mention the confusion it must have caused her.
Since 80 percent of learning is visual, it’s critical that our children get regular eye exams. Our children should have every opportunity to realize their potential, and clear vision is a huge part of this process.
As an employee of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, healthy vision and frequent eye exams are part of the mantra we live and breathe every day. I felt compelled to share my grandson’s story because I want to emphasize that getting your eyes tested is as important as any other annual healthcare check-up.
As for Logan, this experience has also been a venue for showing his independence through the selection of his own glasses. They wouldn’t have been my pick, but it’s a way for him to express himself and with clear vision, he is now on track to be the best that he can be.
Take the #EyePledge today and promise to get your family’s eyes tested.
James Wagner is an IMM Engineering Technician IV at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC), where he’s worked for 18 years. James retired from the US Navy in 1995 where he received the majority of his technical training. He has been instrumental in establishing an Open & Out (formally GLOBAL) employee resource group at JJVC. James, along with his husband Dawayne, are active within the Jacksonville, Florida LGBT community and with the Johnson & Johnson PFLAG and “Care with Pride” programs. James is the father of two daughters, Heidi and Caressa and has five grandchildren.