New clothes and a new backpack may be on your child’s back-to-school list. But, what about a back-to-school eye exam?
Vision is one of the keys to success in school, so make sure your children get regular vision screenings.
Dr. Laura Sperazza, Director of Low Vision Services at Lighthouse Guild, says, “The most important thing you can do to protect your child’s vision is to make sure they get an eye exam. An eye health professional can determine if your child needs eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if there is a vision problem that requires further intervention.”
My husband and I both wear contacts and glasses and two of our four kids wear glasses. My prescription hasn’t actually changed in about ten years.
August Is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
We’ve spent the last year in vision therapy with one of our children for convergence insufficiency treatment.
We attended weekly sessions and completed daily homework.
I have seen a world of difference in my daughter’s reading, comprehension, abstract thinking, and confidence.
As homeschoolers, we didn’t know she was experiencing any vision issues and we didn’t have the proper screenings through specialist doctors, even though she had eyeglasses for reading.
It’s important as parents to do research and pay attention to problems and symptoms.
We can’t rely on schools to do that job for us. I’ve read about many parents whose kids were misdiagnosed with attention or behavior disorders and they just had weak eye muscles.
Learn more at COVD.
Some of it is hereditary, but most is lifestyle and can be prevented or improved or at least halted.
5 healthy vision tips to help safeguard your child’s eye health:
Eat Your Carrots
The old saying still applies. Encourage your child to eat a well-balanced diet loaded with different types of fruits and veggies, as well as sustainable fish and/or flax. Omega 3, D supplements, B vitamins, and beta carotene help with vision health.
Pay attention to your child doing different activities. Ask your child to let you know if they notice any vision changes during different environments – if their vision is blurry, if they are squinting a lot in one or both eyes, if lights are really bright, or their eyes start bothering them in other ways. If a child has trouble reading fluently by around age 10-12, there might be a vision problem not readily understood by pediatricians or many optometrists. My daughter’s eyes were very watery all the time and she yawned a lot, especially when trying to read.
Wear Glasses Consistently
Help your child understand the importance of wearing their eyeglasses. If they are resistant because they believe glasses are unattractive, try pointing out sports figures and other well-known people who wear glasses. Talk with them about how to clean and store their glasses properly.
Rest Your Eyes
Looking continuously at a computer, smartphone, tablet, or TV screen can tire eyes. Encourage your child to take regular breaks from staring at a screen. Also, make sure there is adequate lighting during close work. There are special lenses designed to help block harmful rays with screen use.
Did you know that regular outside play helps reduce myopia?
Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom
Wear Safety Gear
Make sure your child wears glasses bands or goggles or other types of protective eye wear while playing sports, using chemicals or tools for school projects, or engaging in other activities. Many eye injuries can be prevented with better safety habits.
Worried about Screens and Eye Strain?
Parents can help their children alleviate some of the eye strain by encouraging kids to do the following:
- Take breaks. To a certain extent, students won’t have control over this because teachers will decide when breaks happen during the school day. But ideally, they should follow a 20/20 rule; take a break every 20 minutes and look away from the screen at a distant object for 20 seconds.
- Choose the right lighting. The type of lighting used in the student’s work space can make a difference. Incandescent lights work better than fluorescent lights because they give off less glare, Kegarise says. “It’s also better if the light is placed over your shoulder than if it’s shining straight down on the screen because that will cause fewer reflections,” he says.
- Adjust the position of the computer. The computer monitor and the keyboard should be positioned to conform with the child’s size. Make sure the screen isn’t too high in the child’s field of view. A report by the National Institute of Health suggests an adjustable chair is the best option to get height just right.
- Remind them to blink. Parents should remind children to blink when they spend a lot of time in front of a screen. That helps spread tears across the eyes, keeping the eyes lubricated and aiding in the prevention of dry eyes
As a parent, sometimes we just need to trust our gut feelings if we think something isn’t right about our kids’ health. And we need to model healthy habits for our kids by limiting our screen time and taking breaks.
Lots of eye care shops offer great back to school deals on glasses for kids under age 18.
Deal on glasses!
Order the Warby Parker Home Try-On program and walk through the process from start to finish: from selecting and ordering five frames, to finding the right pair for your face, all in the comfort of your own home!
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