This little girl is busy attending First Grade over the Internet!
Fall is fast approaching and the back to school season is in full force! Of course, “back to school” is a relative term as children in the Denver North Metro area attend an assortment of in-person classroom instruction, learning pods, and online educational resources. According to the National Eye Institute, 80% of a child’s learning occurs through visual activities, so no matter how your child is learning, vision is crucial to their education.
When do kids need an eye exam?
The American Optometric Association recommends a child’s first eye exam at 6-12 months of age. Our eye doctors generally recommend young patients then return for an eye check-up before they start kindergarten, and then once yearly after that. These early-life eye exams make sure your child’s eyes and vision are able to develop to their fullest potential. Amblyopia (also known as “lazy eye”) is the most common cause of vision loss in kids, and up to 3 in 100 children have it according to the National Eye Institute. Amblyopia is almost entirely preventable if it is identified early.
Signs and symptoms of eye and vision issues in children
If a vision condition only affects one eye, the child may adapt to that status and not have any signs or symptoms at all. Our doctors recommend an eye check-up even for those patients that don’t have symptoms in order to rule any potential problems. Here are some signs and symptoms of eye and vision issues that a child may experience:
- Sitting close to the TV
- Poor coordination
- Covering or winking an eye
- Eye rubbing
- Dislike or avoiding of reading
- Turning or tilting head to see
- Turned eye
- Slow reading speed
- Losing place while reading
- Eye redness
Computer and device use and education
The Coronavirus pandemic has challenged all aspects of life, but none more than education. Teachers have been quick to respond to these challenges by reinventing their entire methodology and adapting to online education either fully or through hybrid learning models. Our children are facing more device utilization as a means to achieve their education. Unfortunately, with computer use comes the eye and vision problems of Computer Vision Syndrome:
- Eye strain
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
From an ocular disease standpoint, increased screen use also exposes children to more short wavelength light (blue light), which can disrupt their sleep cycle and increase the risk of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and early cataracts.
Help your child protect their eyes and better position themselves to learn
Every child and every patient has a different refractive error (glasses prescription). Some patients require vision correction in order to see far away, while others use glasses to help them see near or computer tasks. Vista Eye Care’s Mission is centered around preventative eye care, and we appreciate that every patient is different and has different needs. Many of our patients have excellent distance vision, but are prescribed glasses for computer, tablet, and reading activities in order to relax their focus, protect their eyes from blue light, and to improve the quality of their education. While having excellent distance vision is indeed a great quality, device use in the modern world changes our approach to vision correction and challenges what the definition of “good vision” means. Is “20/20 distance vision” adequate for a child to stare at a Chromebook screen positioned at arm’s length for 8 hours? For many of our young patients, assuming that good distance vision equates to good near vision leads to issues with their comfort and vision.
Prevention is the best medicine
Back to school time is a great time to be reminded of the importance of vision, and to highlight the need to protect that vision. Because a child’s eyes and vision are still developing in their elementary years, it is crucial to make sure their eyes are on the right track to develop properly. If needed, we can intervene early by providing vision correction and blue light protection. For those patients that are showing signs of myopia development, Vista Eye Care’s comprehensive Myopia Management program can reduce your child’s end point nearsightedness and help prevent many other eye diseases later in life.
We are proud to have a full-service optical department that features the largest selection of children’s eyewear in the area. We cut our own lenses in-house which ensures the quality of the vision correction your child receives. Our knowledgeable and friendly opticians are here to help you and your child see their best!
Schedule your child’s annual eye and vision exam today
Please call our office at (303) 450-2020 to schedule your child’s annual eye check-up today. Our eye doctors will work with your child to complete a thorough exam and we will explain our findings and answer any questions you may have!