5 Tips on Back for School Eye Care
If we risk our eye sight, we risk losing a lot. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as the new school year gets underway:
- Have your child get a comprehensive eye exam: Sure, your kids get their eyes checked by the school nurse, but that does not compare to a comprehensive eye exam done at an eye doctor’s office. Eye doctors can diagnose nearsightedness or farsightedness before signs of learning difficulties start to show up. Eye doctors can also diagnose underlying health issues such as diabetes. It’s recommended children have their first eye exam at 3 years old (babies should be seen at 6 months) and then starting at 5 years old, they should have a regular eye exam every year.
- Encourage them to wash their hands: Once the kids are back in school, germs spread quickly. One study shows 164 million school days are missed due to the spread of infectious diseases. Remind your kids to wash their hands regularly and encourage them not to touch their eyes – both can limit the spread of germs.
- Protect their eyes: It’s important to wear protective eye wear when playing sports and sunglasses when out in the sun. The National Eye Institute estimates 42,000 kids get eye injuries every year while playing sports. Remind them to use protective eyewear such as goggles or face shields to help reduce the risk of an eye injury. Kids should wear high SPF prescription glasses or sunglasses. Too much sun exposure can lead to vision problems later in life, including cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Give their eyes a rest: With more school districts using computers, tablets and iPads to help with daily instruction, kids are getting a lot of screen time. In fact, along with at-home use, it’s estimated kids get nearly 8 hours of screen time a day. Too much screen time can cause headaches, blurred vision or even nearsightedness. Invest in glare-reducing screen covers and instill the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds.
- Whip up healthy meals: make sure they get plenty of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, beta-carotene and omega 3. All of these nutrients play an important role in eye health. For four eye-healthy smoothie recipes, visit www.visionsource.com
Submitted by Lowell Lebovitz, O.D., F.A.A.O, of Vision Source Envision Eye Care.
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