14 Sep Back To School Eye Care
Back To School Assignment: Be Eye Aware
The tradition of going back to school has changed a lot in the 21st Century. While we still have chalkboards, textbooks, and even pen and pencil homework, we also have virtual classrooms, digital books and online assignments. Regardless of the type of learning, studying means longer times of focus both close up and far away, and that can lead to eye discomfort and eye strain.
No matter the age of your student, taking care of their eyes is an important part of their education. As students get back to the books, parents have a homework assignment too: Be eye aware. Watching for the little things can help you identify possible vision issues. For example:
- Is your child struggling to see the board in a classroom or squinting at distant objects?
- Do they avoid reading or other “near tasks?”
- Are they experiencing dry eyes?
It’s a natural reaction to avoid or work around things that are making us uncomfortable. With eye strain and eye discomfort, this can quickly affect a student’s learning.
One of the simplest reliefs to eye strain is to take breaks. The 20-20-20 Rule is a good way to build a break routine that can help your eyes recover from the focus of studying.
- Every 20 minutes take a break.
- Look at something 20 feet away.
- For 20 seconds.
This can mean looking out a window or getting a quick snack. Beyond these short breaks, encourage your student to step away from digital devices (and maybe even go outside!) for a longer time period. Our online world means we’re all staring at small, near objects more often. This can cause eye dryness as well as strain. Being outdoors where we our attention is drawn to our entire surroundings can go a long way in preventing nearsightedness.
These tips are good day-to-day habits, but they aren’t a substitute for an annual exam. Make it part of your back-to-school routine to get an annual exam before each school year. Your optometrist can evaluate changes from year to year and offer solutions to stop discomfort before they impact your life and academic performance.
In more extreme cases, regular exams can identify progressive vision decline and evaluate courses of action that can slow progression and lower risk for eye disease later in life.