Have you ever tried to copy down bullet points from a PowerPoint presentation that you could just barely see? Or tried to type out a paper on a bright screen while suffering from tired eyes.
Whether they’re peering at a whiteboard, reading a long book or typing essays late into the night, students put a lot of strain on their eyes. The Common Sense Census reports teens spend almost nine hours in front of digital screens each day, while tweens are not far behind with an average of nearly six hours of daily screen time.
These statistics concern parents; in fact, according to The Vision Council, 78 percent of parents expressed worry, yet only 29 percent reported taking children for an annual eye exam as part of back-to-school preparation. If your kids are going back to school this fall, help them take care of their eyes with these tips from MyEyeDr.
1. Arrange an eye-friendly workspace
Organize a space in your home where your students can do their homework without straining their eyes. Position elements in the workspace so that digital devices are sitting at least 20 inches from the user’s face to decrease eyestrain. Device screens should be angled slightly downward to decrease tension on the neck and back.
You can ensure that the workspace allows for proper posture by providing a chair of a height that allows your kids’ feet to rest flat on the floor. Depending on your kids’ ages, it might even be worth investing in an adjustable chair that can change height to accommodate growth.
2. Schedule breaks
Parents should encourage children to give their eyes a break. There are a couple of different ways to give eyes a little time off.
One method involves the 20-20-20 rule: you look away from digital devices at an object on the wall, at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Another approach is breaking up the day with some time outside as limiting digital device usage can reduce the harmful effects longterm exposure can have on the eyes.
Encourage your kids to go do things outdoors – no phones – for 15 minutes or so each hour to give their eyes a chance to refocus on the bigger picture.
3. Schedule an annual eye exam
Parents who can adhere to an “every kid, every year” mantra for back-to-school eye exams ensure that their kids will be equipped to learn. Headaches, clumsiness, decreased attention span and poor academic performance can all be related to vision impairment or not wearing the right prescription. Fortunately, scheduling an eye exam to get the right prescription is an easy fix.
MyEyeDr. will see children as young as age five yearly for an annual exam and with over 75 locations in the D.C. area, there’s almost certainly a location conveniently close by.
4. Get the right tools for the job
Prepping your child for a healthy and successful academic year goes beyond preventative measures. Invest in the right lenses to correct vision and ensure academic performance. Consider a stylish pair of frames from Zoobug, a London-based eyewear brand made just for kids, to complement your child’s personal style.
5. Lead by example
Set a strong example for your child by placing priority on your eye health and following these tips (look away every so often, go outside, etc.) yourself. Your child will be much more invested in their own eye health when they see you taking necessary steps to look, see and be well. Because August is National Eye Exam month, now is the perfect time to invest in your eye health.
MyEyeDr. is proud to support the Essilor Vision Foundation this back-to-school season and their work to provide exams and vision correction for children in underserved communities. MyEyeDr. is a network of more than 300 optometry practices east of the Mississippi that offers comprehensive eye care services, a selection of designer and value prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, and standard and specialty prescription contact lenses. By welcoming all vision insurance plans and providers, MyEyeDr. makes vision health attainable for everyone. For more information, visit myeyedr.com.