Among the list of back-to-school essentials like backpacks and notebooks, one crucial aspect often goes overlooked – children's eye health. Ensuring that your child's vision is in top condition is essential for their academic success and overall well-being. Below we’ll discuss a few common eye conditions in children, how to identify them, and tips for maintaining healthy eyes during school, and all year round.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a common refractive error in which distant objects appear blurry, while close-up objects can be seen clearly. Children with myopia may squint to see things in the distance, sit too close to the TV or chalkboard, or show a lack of interest in outdoor activities.
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, causes close-up objects to appear blurry, while distant objects are clearer. Children with hyperopia might experience eye strain, headaches, or fatigue after reading or engaging in close activities.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens has an irregular shape, leading to blurred or distorted vision at all distances. Children with astigmatism might complain of eye discomfort, headaches, or difficulty reading.
Amblyopia, often referred to as a "lazy eye," is a condition where one eye has weaker vision than the other. This can happen due to a difference in prescription or other factors that affect visual development. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent permanent vision loss in the weaker eye.
Besides checking for refractive errors, a comprehensive pediatric eye exam assesses the health of a child’s eyes and how both eyes work together. Complete eye examinations are an important part of a child’s overall health care program. Like many eye care services, pediatric eye examinations may be covered by vision plans and medical insurance such as Medicaid.
With the increasing use of digital devices in education, it is essential to limit screen time to prevent eye strain. Encourage regular breaks and the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and focus on something at least 20 feet away.
Spending time outdoors has been linked to a reduced risk of myopia progression in children. Encourage outdoor activities to give their eyes a break from near-work and exposure to natural light.
Ensure that the study area is well-lit with appropriate lighting to reduce eye strain while reading or studying.
A balanced diet rich in eye-healthy nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc can promote good vision. Include foods like carrots, leafy greens, citrus fruits, and nuts in their diet.
If your child participates in sports, provide appropriate protective eyewear to safeguard their eyes from potential injuries.
Help your children start their school year off right with a comprehensive eye examination from the caring doctors at Kopolow & Girisgen, Doctors of Optometry. It's easier than ever to schedule an eye exam. Schedule An Appointment Online or simply text GLASSES to 21000, and a member of our friendly team will be in touch!