It’s that time of year yet again. The back to school rush! The clock is ticking down and at long last you must prepare your child to make this the best school year yet. While getting pencils, binders, and notebooks is very important, there are other things your child must do before the new school year rolls around in order to succeed. In most of our cases, our success relies on how well we see and understand the information presented to us. This is where these eye care tips come into the picture.
Get an eye test done
The number one rule your child should adhere to every year before school starts is getting an updated eye exam. There are multiple reasons for this:
- 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have problems with their vision. The American Optometric Association advises that infants should receive their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months. After that, an additional eye exam should be performed at age 3. From then on, it is highly recommended that children who don’t regularly wear glasses receive an eye exam every two years. Children who need glasses should be tested every year.
- The only way for children to reach their full potential academically is for them to be able to see properly.
- Conditions such as nearsightedness often develop around the ages of 6 or 7. With a body that is so rapidly changing, it only makes sense that vision will change. With ¼ of American children needing glasses, it is likely that your child is one of them (or will be).
- While all of this is true, 48% of parents with children under 12 have never taken their child to an eye care professional. Do not become part of this statistic.
Responsibly wearing contacts
Sometimes you can’t count on your child to correctly wear their contact lenses. Although there is no age limit for wearing contacts, many eye care professionals recommend considering them between the ages of 11 and 14. After deciding if contacts are right for your child, make sure that their prescription is always up to date. It is possible for their solution to go bad after the expiration date, becoming more acidic or basic. This has the potential to cause discomfort and even an infection.
You should also encourage your child to carry extra lenses, extra solution, and their prescribed glasses with them to school. Things happen, and they never know when being prepared can come in handy. Finally, your child should know the correct way to insert and remove their contacts.
Paying close attention to eye hygiene
Children are constantly touching questionable surfaces and immediately touching their face and eyes. While they might see this as harmless, the eyes are one of the most open areas of the body for germs to enter. Infections of the eye, such as conjunctivitis, or pink eye, are also very common in younger children. Rubbing their eyes can not only worsen the infection, but also aid in spreading it. Teach your children to never touch or rub their eyes. If for some reason they must, make sure their hands are washed before and after they do it.
Abide by the 20-20-20 rule
Especially in today’s world, children often spend hours upon hours looking at screens. With their eyes in the developmental stages, this could cause long-term damage to their sight. This is why the 20-20-20 rule is so widely suggested. The rule goes as follows: while using electronic devices, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. The idea behind this rule is to minimize strain on your eyes. Here is a video by the Canadian Association of Optometrists that better explains the idea.
Following these few guidelines can be the first steps needed to make this the best school year yet. Not only will they help your child stay on top of their health, but also guarantee a year filled with the best opportunities to grow and learn. Good luck this year kids!