May is Healthy Vision Month. According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vision disability is among the top ten disabilities affecting those 18 and older and the single most common disability among children. Furthermore, close to three and a half million people over age 40 are severely visually impaired, including those who are blind, and one in twelve people with diabetes over age 40 has diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.
Many debilitating visual health problems are preventable, however, and, fortunately, promoting Healthy Vision Month at your library will be easy with these free resources:
Quick and Easy
Printable Coloring Pages, Puzzles, Activity Booklets, Bookmarks, and Educational Materials for Children and Adults:
From the National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute:
- See All You Can See. A free activity booklet for ages 6-8. Full-color activity books are also available for a low cost.
- Wild About Healthy Vision. A free activity booklet for ages 9-12. Full-color activity books are also available for a low cost.
- Vision. A School Program for Grades 4 to 8. Three lesson plans with handouts ideal for a guest speaker.
- Make Every Day a Healthy Vision Day: 31 Fun Eye-Related Facts for Children
- Your Eyes are the Window to Your Health. Free bookmarks to print in both English and Spanish.
- Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit for adult programs, ideal for guest speakers. Also available in Spanish.
From “Eye Didn’t Know That,” a public health campaign from Transitions Optical, Inc.
- Eyecare Discoveryactivity guides and reproducibles.
- Our Amazing Eyesfree teaching guides and reproducibles from Transitions and Scholastic, Inc.:
More Quick and Easy Printables:
- Groovy Goggles
- Glasses Craft
- Eye-C-U Robot paper craft
- Dog Eye Doctor coloring page
- Seeing Eye Dog coloring page
- Visit to the Eye Doctor coloring page
- Squid Eye Fact coloring page
- Ultra Violet Rays Eye Fact coloring page
- Eye Illusions coloring page from Crayola
- Parts of the Human Eye activity page from Crayola
- Vision Aids Crossword Puzzle: Send your teens on an Internet scavenger hunt to find the answers to this crossword.
Books, Links to Free Information, and Organizations to Contact:
Books for All Ages
- Vision Books for Story Time
- Healthy Vision Books for Children
- Vision Book Club Picks for Teens and Adults
- Informational Vision Books for Adults
Free Information Promoting Healthy Vision
Is the book checked out? Check these out instead.
- Brochures and Fact Sheets from the National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute – available as downloads or to order.
- Vision Aware: The Self-Help Resource Center For Vision Loss
Organizations to Contact
Free information and resources:
- eyeSmart: eye health resources from The American Academy of Ophthalmology
- National Eye Health Education Program: NEHEP supports collaboration among eye health professionals, healthcare providers, patients, and the public.
- National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
- Unite for Sight: a non-profit global health delivery organization that empowers communities worldwide to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness.
- Vision Health Initiative: from the Centers for Disease Control
- Eye Health Organizations Database from the National Eye Institute
Observe Healthy Vision Month this May by choosing one of these vision related books or movies for your children’s, teen, or adult discussion group:
- Arthur’s Eyes by Marc Brown. Arthur the aardvark, from the popular PBS children’s series, adjusts to his first pair of glasses. Activity Guide, DVD information.
- The Miracle Worker by William Gibson. With more than one movie version, only 118 pages, suitable for both teens and adults, and a great read-along this script is an excellent book club choice. Book Preview, 1962 Movie Information & DVD Availability, 1980 Movie Information & DVD Availability, Discussion and Activity Ideas, The Story of my Life, Helen Keller’s biography.
- An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales by Oliver W. Sacks. This book includes an essay “To See and not to See,” about Shirl Jennings, a man who gained his eyesight after lifelong blindness, which was made into the movie, At First Sight, starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino. Author Website.
May celebrates Mother’s Day! You can bring together Healthy Vision Awareness and Mother’s Day with these crafty gifts:
- Braille Mother’s Day Cards
- Braille Stationery
- Braille Paintings
- Eye Can Desk Craft
- Lacing Foam Eyeglass Case
- Fun Fur Eyeglass Case
Find a professional to speak at your library or find help for your library customers.
- Guide Dogs for the Blind: Request a speaker near you.
- National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Find a library near you at this website or by calling 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323)
- Use Vision Aware to find eye doctors, vision rehabilitation agencies and other local services in your state, veterans’ services, and services for older persons.
Use this free material alongside your library’s May programming information – newsletter, blog, posters, or flyers – to promote both your library’s programs and healthy vision month.
- Badges and Banners to add to your website, free from the National Eye Institute (NEI)
- Customizable News Release from the NEI
- Drop in Articles from the NEI
- Healthy Eye Tips from the NEI
- Financial Assistance for Eye Care: a full-color PDF from the NEI with information on organizations offering free eye exams.
- Print public service announcements and other graphics, free and non-copyrighted, from the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP): Diabetic Eye Disease; Glaucoma; Low Vision; ¡Ojo con su visión! or Watch out for your vision!
- Public service announcement scripts, free and non-copyrighted public service announcement scripts from the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP): Diabetic Eye Disease; Glaucoma; Low Vision; ¡Ojo con su visión! or Watch out for your vision!
Goof off at the reference desk and amaze your friends on Twitter . . . OR add some fun to a library program, your library website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed:
- The Braille Name Game. Type your name and see it in braille.
- Concentration Matching Game featuring animal eyes, eyewear, or eyeballs at “Eye Didn’t Know That.”
- Braille Bug Trivia Game. Can you answer these trivia questions in braille?
- Test Your “Eye-Q” at “Eye Didn’t Know That,” a public health campaign from Transition’s Optical, Inc.
- Virtual Lab Tour. How are eyeglasses made? Find out with this virtual tour from “Eye Didn’t Know That.”
- Interactive History of Vision from “Eye Didn’t Know That.”
- Secret Message. Type a message, click to convert it to braille, and then send it to a friend.
- The Braille Rap Song. See the lyrics and download the music to this fun song designed to make learning the braille alphabet fun.