Our County: Keep eyes on Sales Tax Holiday, vision health
by D. Gary Davis
Jul 30, 2013 | 640 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
August is almost here and with it comes the start of a new school year and a flurry of back-to-school shopping. Fortunately, Tennessee’s upcoming annual Sales Tax Holiday makes August a fantastic time for bargain hunting. Parents of school children can save a bundle on clothing, school supplies and computers.

The Sales Tax Holiday is normally held during the first weekend in August and you can purchase numerous items without the additional cost of sales tax. The tax-free holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 2, and ends Sunday, Aug. 4 at 11:59 p.m. The tax exemption not only applies to the purchase of in-store items, but also items purchased over the phone and Internet.

August is also a time when health professionals place an emphasis on the eye health and safety of our children. So, along with back-to-school shopping, I urge you to consider making August a time for basic healthcare services such as immunizations, dental cleanings, a physical and an eye exam for your child before school starts.

More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment and it is estimated that 80 percent of preschoolers do not receive vision screenings. Prevent Blindness America, and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, say nearly 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Almost one in 20 children between the ages of 3 and 5 has a problem that could result in permanent vision loss if left untreated. A basic screening of your child’s eyesight can detect conditions that can threaten your child’s vision and greatly impact their performance in the classroom.

As you shop for your child’s school supplies for the upcoming school year, be aware that one of his or her greatest needs is good eyesight. Your child's eyes should be examined during regular pediatric appointments and vision testing should be conducted around age 3. Parents can also detect warning signs of vision problems. These include wandering or crossed eyes, a family history of childhood vision problems, disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects, and squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television.

If you need additional information about the prevention of vision problems for your child, please contact the Bradley County Health Department. Eloise Waters and her staff do an outstanding job of identifying and assessing community health needs, strategic health planning and developing preventive health programs.

The department’s efforts to ensure good public health can be seen during seasonal outbreaks of the flu and other communicable diseases. Their immunization and health screening programs are in place to not only protect the public’s health, but also help ease any concern we may have about the spread of disease and sickness in Bradley County.

The Health Department’s numerous programs, from its Well Baby Exams to TB skin testing, are there for our benefit.

To learn more about the services offered by the Bradley County Health Department, call 423-728-7020. Their office is located at 201 Dooley St.

You can also visit the State Health Department’s website at http://health.state.tn.us.