WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Experts say parents should add eye exams to their back-to-school checklist because one of the most prevalent vision impairments in children is myopia, a condition that causes blurry vision at a distance and can increase difficulty focusing.
Good vision is key for academic success and untreated eye conditions can impact a child’s performance in school.
A study from the USC Eye Institute suggests screen time largely contributes to the development of myopia.
Dr. Rasika Whitesell from MyEyeDoc in Wilmington shared tips for students as they return to school to make sure they maintain proper eye health, including:
- Arrange an eye-friendly workspace. Organize a space in your home that optimizes workflow without straining your student’s eyes. Position the desk so that digital devices are sitting at least 20 inches away from their face to decrease eye strain. Ensure the workspace allows for proper posture with a chair at a height that allows feet to be flat on the floor.
- Schedule breaks. Encourage children to give their eyes a break. Whether this is short and simple, incorporating the 20-20-20 rule by looking away from digital devices at an object on the wall, at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes; or breaking up the day with some time outside, limiting digital device usage can reduce the harmful effects increased exposure can have on the eyes. According to The Vision Council, children who play outside regularly are 23 percent less likely to develop myopia, or nearsightedness. Parents can even consider this a reward for children who have learned how best to manage their digital device usage.
- Get the right tools for the job. Prepping your child for a healthy and successful academic year goes beyond preventative measures. Invest in the right lenses to correct vision and ensure academic performance. Consider a stylish pair of Converse, Nike or Zoobug frames, a London-based eyewear brand made just for kids, with special lenses to reduce digital eye strain and complement your child’s personal style while protecting their eyes.
- Schedule an annual eye exam. Headaches, clumsiness, decreased attention span and poor academic performance can all be related to vision impairment or not wearing the right prescription. Parents must adhere to an ‘every kid, every year’ mantra for back to school eye exams. Healthy vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn and achieve their academic potential, as well as playing sports and other activities.
- Lead by example. Set the example for your child by placing priority on your eye health and following these tips. Your child will be much more invested in their own eye health when they see you taking necessary preventative measures.