- by Super User
It’s almost time for kids to pack their backpacks and return to school! As you start planning for the new school year, take into consideration that nearly 80% of classroom education is taught visually. Set your child up for academic success with regular vision screenings and by keeping their eyes safe.
Have Regular Childhood Vision Screenings
Children grow and change quickly, and their eyes are no different. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having your child’s vision screened when they are a newborn, six months old, three years old and again when they are ready to enter Kindergarten.
For school-age children, a vision screening can be performed by a pediatrician, family physician, nurse or trained technician during regular checkups. If the screening detects a problem, the child may need to see an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in eye care.
Watch for Warning Signs
Children may not realize they are experiencing vision problems. If you notice your child squinting when reading or they begin to complain of headaches, schedule a vision exam. Many vision problems, including lazy eye (known as amblyopia), can be treated and corrected in childhood. When ignored, problems can become more serious and may even result in blindness as an adult.
Keep Your Child’s Eyes Safe
According to the National Eye Institute, baseball is a leading cause of eye injuries among children 14 years old and younger who play sports in the U.S. In fact, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children, accounting for an estimated 100,000 emergency room and doctor visits each year.
If your child plays a sport like baseball, field hockey or basketball, consider having them wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear.
It’s also important to protect your child’s eyes from the sun. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard.
Cutting back screen time is also a good idea for kids (and adults!). While there is limited research studying the effects of screens on children’s eyes, the Canadian Association of Optometrists and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society recommends kids up to age two shouldn’t use screens at all and that kids ages two to five should be getting no more than an hour of screen time a day. Once kids get a little older (five to 18 years), they suggest kids get no more than two hours. No screens should be used in the hour before bed.
Want to learn more about eye safety? Read this article from Today’s Parent: What screens are doing to your kids’ eyes.