It may feel like the middle of summer, but the new school year is right around the corner. Many college students will be returning to campus in mid-August, and school is back in session before Labor Day in some areas. It’s time to schedule back-to-school contact lens checks and eye exams.
Recent research indicates that 89 percent of parents incorrectly believe simple vision screenings, such as those offered at schools, are an effective way to detect vision problems. However, these screenings cannot detect potentially serious eye and overall health issues in children. A child’s vision can change frequently or unexpectedly which can lead to behavioral and attention issues in the classroom.
Along with scheduling those back-to-school eye exams, parents should keep these four eye health and safety tips in mind:
- Pediatric eye exams may be covered by your health insurance plan.
- Look for indicators of vision and eye health issues: Covering one eye, holding reading materials close to the face, a short attention span and complaining of headaches or other discomfort.
- Prevent eye strain by monitoring use of digital devices: Increased exposure to electronic devices in and out of the classroom can cause digital eye strain, including burning or itchy eyes, headaches, blurred vision and exhaustion. Teach students to follow the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away), blink frequently and adjust the computer screen to prevent glare can prevent discomfort.
- Wear proper eye protection for sports and outdoor activities: Well-fitting, protective eye wear and quality sunglasses that offer UV protection are also critical to maintaining key visual skills for sports and preventing injuries.