Since in September, we’re all settling into a routine once again, we thought it important to share some Back-to-School themed reminders for your eye health, especially for those younger sets of eyes!  Even if you don’t have little ones at home, now is a great time to schedule your comprehensive eye exam before the holiday hustle begins.

Activities – kids these days are involved in more after-school and weekend activities than ever before.  Especially for outdoor sports, eye safety is crucial for developing eyes and the use of sunglasses cannot be understated.

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day for developing minds.  Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast helps kids stay focused throughout the day.

Communicate – talk to your children about their day, but also ask pointed questions about their health and wellness.  This will teach children how to listen to their bodies from a young age so important issues don’t go undetected.

Dates – Create an easily-updated family calendar. We love Google Calendar because it syncs automatically across multiple devices and sends reminders however you wish to receive them.

Eye Exam –  Even if there are no complaints over the summer about blurry vision or headaches, children still need to have frequent eye exams. Just like their bodies are rapidly growing, children’s eyes are changing as well.  

For proper education, children need the following skills related to eyesight:

  • Near vision
  • Distance vision
  • Binocular (two eyes) coordination
  • Eye movement skills
  • Focusing skills
  • Peripheral awareness
  • Hand-eye coordination

Nearsightedness is the most common condition for children, and  can worsen rapidly, especially between the ages of 11 and 13.  This means that an eye prescription can change dramatically over a short period of time. Never fear, mom. Changing eyesight is not a reason for worry, and vision tends to stabilize in the later teenage years and early twenties. During the growing years, it is important to make regular eye appointments with your child’s eye doctor. Making comprehensive eye exams a part of your back-to-school tradition guarantees that your children’s eyes are examined at least once every year. These exams also mean that you have the opportunity to obtain updated prescriptions, ask questions of your eye doctor, and get recommendations for when to schedule the next exam.

Comprehensive eye exams can also detect other eye conditions besides nearsightedness. Some children may have good distance vision but may struggle when reading up close. This is known as hyperopia or farsightedness. Other eye issues such as strabismus (misaligned  eyes), astigmatism or amblyopia (lazy eye) are also detectable through an eye exam. For some eye conditions, vision can be permanently affected if the problem is not corrected. Regular exams mean earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment.

Another reason for a back-to-school comprehensive eye exam:  learning challenges.  Have you been told your child has a learning problem or trouble paying attention? That might be a misdiagnosis. Watch this Youtube video by CBS’s Dr. Max Gomez, where he reports the real problem might be your child’s eyes, even if they have 20-20 vision. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ciptj3OSMEE)

At Eye Center, Inc., we are proud to be your entire family’s eye care provider.  

Schedule yearly, comprehensive eye exams

A comprehensive eye exam from an eye doctor is one of the best investments you can make in your child’s education and overall well-being. Not only will an eye exam make sure your kids can read their devices comfortably, it will make sure their eyes are healthy. Through the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, parents can take advantage of yearly comprehensive eye exams for children ages 18 and younger.  

And don’t be misled by thinking the screening that your school, or even your pediatrician may offer is complete. Many school screenings test only for distance visual acuity, but a child who can see 20/20 can still have a vision problem. Research from the American Optometric Association (AOA) American Eye-Q® Survey shows that 89 percent of parents mistakenly believe that vision screenings are an effective way to detect vision problems in infants and children.

The 20-20-20 Rule

To give the eyes a break, the AOA recommends the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

Comprehensive eye exams performed by an eye doctor are the only way to accurately assess eye health, diagnose an eye disorder or disease, and determine the need for glasses or contact lenses. To schedule your appointment, call Eye Center, Inc. at (941) 756-2020 today to schedule your appointment at one of our three convenient optometry offices in the Manatee County area!