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A Back-to-School Guide to Your Child’s Eyecare Needs

Annual comprehensive eye exams are critical to everyone, especially young learners as they embark on a new school year.




Most kids return to school sometime this month. So it’s hard to miss all the shoppers this time of year picking through the back-to-school displays at any number of retailers.

As they get those backpacks, notepads, and all the schoolhouse items in order, The Vision Council is reminding parents and guardians of one more back-to-school necessity: a comprehensive eye exam.

A Back-to-School Guide to Your Child’s Eyecare NeedsThe nonprofit optical trade association suggests August is the perfect time of year to schedule children for an appointment with an eyecare provider. What is better than starting the school year with proper vision?

Unfortunately, according to a study conducted a few years ago by VSP Vision and the market research company YouGov, only 50 percent of U.S. parents bring their children in for annual back-to-school eye exams.

The Vision Council has set out to change all that.

“An eye exam is just as important as your child’s annual physical,” says Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, in a press release. “Vision is critical to class participation, learning and long-term success. A short appointment can prevent blurry vision, eye strain, headaches, and frustration; plus, it can detect other health issues such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.”


The Vision Council’s Back-to-School Guide

Best time to schedule an eye exam

  • Right now! A few weeks before the start of the school year is a great time for parents to book an eye exam to make sure their kids have the right prescription and allow time for glasses or contacts to be fabricated if they need them. If school is already in session, it’s still a good idea to get an eye exam on the calendar, to make sure your kids are well-positioned for a year of successful learning.
  • It’s important for the whole family to go to the eye doctor once a year; back-to-school season is a great time to schedule for the whole family at once so you’re all on the same schedule.
  • Even if you have perfect vision, a visit to the eye doctor can help detect and prevent other health issues in the long run, from high blood pressure and diabetes to high cholesterol or even cancer. Eye health is more than just seeing 20/20.

Signs your child may need glasses

  • Your child holds books, papers, and screens very close to their eyes.
  • Your child has a short attention span.
  • Your child exhibits general clumsiness.
  • Your child complains about headaches.
  • Your child fears getting hit by a ball or doesn’t want to play sports.
  • Your child frequently asks you to explain what’s going on.

What to look for in kids’ eyewear

  • There are so many great, stylish eyewear options for kids that are also durable, comfortable, and affordable.
  • To get kids excited about wearing glasses, make sure they are involved in the process of picking a color and style that reflects their unique personality.
  • Many kids’ eyewear brands are basically “indestructible” without sacrificing style.
  • Flexible material, 360 flexible hinges and bendable memory metal are good qualities to look for in kid’s glasses. Anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings on lenses are great for kid’s glasses as well.
  • Contact lenses are also a great option for kids, once they are old enough to wear them responsibly. Disposable contacts can be convenient and easy for kids.

Do kids really need sunglasses?

  • Yes! Sunglasses are a daily health necessity for adults andkids to protect the eyes from long and short-term damage from the sun’s UV rays.
  • Children have larger pupil sizes which means there is a bigger window for UV to enter their eye. Since their internal lens is still developing, they can’t filter out UV as well as an adult eye.

Is digital eye strain a concern for kids? 

  • As children, especially teens, increasingly use digital devices at school and at home, digital eye strain can be a concern for kids just as much as it is for adults.
  • Fortunately, kids can benefit from the same simple lifestyle changes as adults – encourage them to take breaks and make sure their devices are set up properly. And of course, encourage spending time outside whenever possible.

What about sports/outdoor eyewear?  

  • The best way to prevent a sports-related eye injury is to wear sport-specific protective eyewear that fits properly.
  • Ensure the protective eyewear is ASTM (American Standard for Testing and Materials) rated for the sport being played.
  • Polycarbonate lenses provide the highest level of protection for impact resistance.
  • ASTM Sports rated protective eyewear can be purchased at sporting goods stores or at your local eyecare provider’s office.



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