Kid’s eye health is something that often runs under the radar. Even if it’s screened at the doctor’s office with the yearly check up, so much can get missed.
The only way to have eyes checked thoroughly is by seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Being proactive can often help curb problems and lessen frustration. Don’t wait until there is a problem to get your child in to see the eye doctor.
When should my child be seen?
A child’s first eye exam should be between the ages of 6-12 months, and rechecked between ages 3 and 5 years. Another eye exam should occur before the child starts first grade, and every second year thereafter, unless they have prescription eyewear or more frequent checks are indicated by your practitioner. (Guidelines set by the American Optometric Association.)
Be aware of what your kids face in today’s world.
Children aged 0-8years are spending an average of 2 hours and 19minutes in front of screens. This means that they are not focusing their eyes to see things at a distance during that time, and they are being exposed to blue light for that amount of time per day. Why is blue light a potential issue? You can read more here. But in short, it can potentially cause damage to the eyes, and can affect sleep cycles. (And we ALL want our kids to sleep well!)
Sunlight causes UV radiation. And when the eye comes in contact with it, especially for long periods this can lead to trouble like cataracts and macular degeneration later on. Eye cancers, eye fatigue, and headaches can also be caused by eye sun exposure.
A 2019 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology correlated near work activities in kids (like reading and screen time) with nearsightedness. With increasing levels of screen time, and indoor activities, kids are less likely to be outside playing. This has been shown to increase the incidence of nearsightedness, and the need for corrective eyewear.
So, what can YOU do for kid’s eye health?
Wear Sunglasses! Radiation from the sun’s rays can cause damage to young, growing eyes. Hats and sunglasses go a long way in protecting kids eyeballs. Don’t underestimate the coolness factor either, if your kids love their sunnies they’ll be more inclined to wear them. There are lots of fun options out there! Not sure where to start? Come into our office for personalized attention and adoration of your kiddo in their new sunnies.
Limit screen time – all parents have heard that less screen time is better for their kids. So what is considered ok?
Go outdoors! It was also shown that the progression to nearsightedness can be slowed with increasing the amount of time kids can spend outside (which provides many opportunities to look far into the distance) Go take your kids to the park for an hour! Or go for a neighborhood scavenger hunt or bike ride. Get outside and get those muscles working! (Your eye muscles that is)
Get checked! This might be the easiest thing you can do for your kids. Especially with our doctors at Eyes On You. Did we mention they are both mommas? And both extremely good at what they do (along with being fully trained in distraction techniques and the ability to get your kid excited about eye health.) Book an appointment today!