According to the American Optometric Association’s 2013 American Eye-Q® survey, 85 percent of parents report that their children use an electronic device for up to four hours per day. From using smartphones or tablets for recreation or homework to working with computers in school, your child can spend a lot of time staring at a screen for work or play. To protect your child’s vision, add eye exams to your back to school checklist for fall.
Why is Vision Screening Important?
Vision screening is an important element of making sure that your child is fully healthy. Impaired vision can impact your child’s ability to concentrate in school (and his or her ability to learn), your child’s ability to play sports or be active, and your child’s well-being and happiness.
The vision system develops over time; it is not fully formed in young children. As a result, children need equal input from both eyes to be able to process visual information. If your child has a vision problem and both eyes cannot send information to the brain, it could cause non-reversible vision problems. The good news is, early detection and treatment of vision problems can help!
Children’s Risk of Eye Strain
Increased screen time can put your child’s eyes under strain, just as it does for you. This “visual discomfort” can even interfere with your child’s ability to focus in the classroom and learn important information. Unless your child is able to take breaks from the screen, eye strain can develop. Signs that your child may have device or computer-related eye strain include:
- rubbing the eyes
- frequent blinking
- difficulty recognizing numbers, colors, or shapes
- misalignment of the eyes
When children have eye strain, one or both of their eyes can turn outward or inward instead of being properly aligned.
Slipping grades, diminished attention spans, behavioral problems, and squinting while reading or watching television can also indicate a vision problem. While older children may be able to recognize and communicate vision problems, younger children may not be able to recognize or articulate what is happening. As many as one in four children has an undiagnosed eye problem, the American Optometric Association reports.
As a result, it is important that parents ensure their children’s vision is tested. In-school vision testing is not comprehensive. Scheduling eye exams with the back to school season makes it easy for busy parents to remember.
If you have questions about children’s eye health, or want to schedule back to school eye exams for your kids, contact our offices in Santa Rosa at (707) 546-9800 and in Petaluma at 707-763-6400. We would be happy to schedule an appointment for you or answer any questions you have.
- September 2015 Update: American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Ready for School campaign about the importance of scheduling comprehensive eye exams for children before school begins, surpassed even the excellent results of last year’s campaign, reaching reaching a 36 percent larger audience.
- Comprehensive Eye Exams on the Back-to-School Checklist
- Eye Screening for Children