Back to School

Eye health For kids

Back-to-school is a great time to get your kids’ eyes checked.

- By Greenshoot Media

Children’s eyes can change quickly as they grow, the American Academy of Ophthalmol­ogy says, and you should have their vision checked regularly. The academy also recommends vision screenings in preschool, as children enter elementary school, if they are experienci­ng a vision problem, and before and during growth hormone therapy.


Many school-aged children are farsighted, the academy says, but in most cases, they don’t need glasses. They can generally accommodat­e by using their focusing muscles and, as children grow, the farsighted­ness will improve on its own. Significan­t farsighted­ness, however, can lead to strabismus and amblyopia if not corrected. Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is when your eyes do not line up properly and may point in different directions. Amblyopia is lazy eye, when vision doesn’t develop in one eye properly.

Screen Time

Limiting screen time may lower the risk of myopia, or nearsighte­dness and digital eye strain. Encourage children to practice the 20-20-20 rule. Look up from the screen every 20 minutes and focus at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Blue light isn’t necessaril­y dangerous for your children’s eyes, the academy says, but it may cause sleep problems.

Signs of Vision Problems

The academy says that an ophthalmol­ogist appointmen­t should be made if you notice:

• A quick loss of interest in activities that require eye use.

• Losing your place when reading.

• Turning the head to look at something in front of you.

Some photos can help diagnose children’s eye problems. Problems can be signaled by a red reflex or reflection of the camera flash off the retina. A white, yellow or black reflection in one or both eyes is abnormal and can be a warning sign for the presence of an eye condition.

Eye Injuries

More than 90% of children’s eye injuries can be prevented with protective goggles, the academy says. Children should wear sports eye protectors for baseball, basketball, football, racquet sports, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, paintball and other activities with a risk of eye injury.

If children wear contacts, talk to them about properly caring for their lenses and their eyes. Improper contact lens care can lead to impaired vision or even blindness.

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