Good vision and overall eye health are vital to learning, with the American Academy of Ophthalmology emphasizing the importance of healthy vision to academic success.
Because children are still growing, staying on top of eye health is of utmost importance. It comes back to basics, the earlier problems are identified, the sooner they can be fixed. For healthy eyes and vision throughout the school year, the Academy recommends the following tips:
1. Get regular vision screenings – Children’s eyes change rapidly, making regular vision screenings an important step in detecting and correcting eye problems early. In addition to screenings for infants, the Academy recommends further vision screening for children when they are:
- Pre-school age, between age 3 and 3 and a half
- Primary school
- Experiencing a possible vision problem
2. Know and share your family eye health history – Everyone should find out whether eye conditions or diseases run in their family. Parents should share such information with their optometrist/ophthalmologist. Eye conditions that are left untreated in childhood can result in permanent vision loss later in life.
3. Watch for signals of eye problems – Parents should be alert to symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision problem, this may include complaints of eyestrain, headaches and squinting when reading or performing other common activities.
4. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports – Eye injuries while playing sports can cause serious damage, whether by getting smacked with an elbow during basketball or hit with a hockey stick. If your child plays sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball or basketball, consider having them wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear.
Jane Edmond, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology said, “Clearly, good vision is vital to success in and out of the classroom at school… Children who can’t see the whiteboard or the ball in gym class may have a tough time and become frustrated. However, taking simple precautions and getting the right eye screenings can help ensure kids are healthy and ready for the school year.”