Children of all ages are back in the classroom, ready for another year of learning. If you’re like most parents, the onset of the school year coinciding with the last days of summer fun created just enough chaos to stand in the way of those before-school checkups. Even if you planned to schedule your students’ eye exams, they might have slipped under the radar. But the beginning of the school year means multiple months of looking from a book or tablet to a board at the front of the classroom. If your student doesn’t see as well as they could, academic success may diminish.
Here, we discuss a few tips for eye and vision health for students:
- Schedule eye exams now. If your child did not have their eye exam before the school year began, there’s still ample time to ensure success in the classroom. Not every child needs to see the eye doctor every year. Students who have never had an eye exam should have one as soon as possible. Depending on the findings of that exam, routine follow-ups are scheduled every two years or every year.
- Hand-washing is critical to eye health. It has been estimated that more than 3 million school days are missed due to acute conjunctivitis (pink eye). This highly contagious disease is less likely to be spread when children develop a good habit of washing their hands frequently.
- Protect eyes during sports. There are nearly 35,000 eye injuries during sporting activities each year, according to the National Eye Institute. Many of these injuries can be prevented or reduced in severity by wearing protective gear such as a face or eye shield, goggles, or other eyewear. If your child’s team does not provide appropriate equipment for the eyes, visit a local sporting goods store for assistance.
- Protect eyes from screens. Screen time is a fast-track to digital eye strain. Even reading for more than 30 minutes straight makes the eyes work extraordinarily hard. A short break is all that is needed to maintain good eye health. Looking away from a book or closing the eyes for a minute or two helps support lubrication and relaxation of the muscles in and around the eyes.
- Protect the eyes from the sun. The UV rays in sunshine are damaging to the skin and the eyes, increasing the risk of cataracts later in life. Provide children with sunglasses that filter UV light to give them a head start on eye disease prevention.
Do you have questions about eye exams for children? Call our Ocala eye institute at (352) 237-8400 for assistance.