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The new school year is finally here and both kids and parents are excited about returning back to their classrooms. To prepare for the upcoming months of studying and learning, it’s a good idea to check in on how well a child can see. 

Poor vision can affect many aspects of a child’s life including their academic performance. For example, not being able to see the board can impact their ability to pay attention in class and behave properly. 

Typically, kids just adapt to whatever their eyesight might be instead of recognizing that their vision may be suffering. Parents can learn to pick up on clues that something is off if their child is squinting often or standing really close to look at something like a tv, book or phone. These are signs that a child might need glasses to help them see better. 

Limiting Screen Time 

During the pandemic, children on average spent more time on electronic devices, which increased the occurrence of dry eyes. Tablets, cell phones, video games and social media can all lead to hours a day looking at screens and consequently, increased eye strain. Too much time doing close work can permanently damage a child’s eyes and lead to more nearsightedness. It can also increase the likelihood of them needing glasses or developing complications such as glaucoma or retinal detachment. 

To try and combat this, limit screen time for kids as much as possible and increase the distance at which they view screens. For example, a television across the room is better than a tablet up close. Click here to learn more about establishing a media plan for your family. 

Benefits of a Healthy Diet on Children’s Eye Health 

Another way to promote healthy vision in children is to feed them a healthy diet. Carrots and other vegetables are full of important vitamins that are great for eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for eye health and can help with dry eyes and inflammation. You can find these fatty acids in fish like salmon or fish oil supplements. 

Protecting Eyes from the Sun 

To protect your children’s eyes from the sun, it is important that they wear a good pair of sunglasses. This is even more important during the summer when kids are in direct sunlight more often. If they end up going in the pool, bring a pair of goggles to prevent their eyes from getting irritated by chemicals. Surprisingly, sun glare can even occur when in the snow on a bright winter day. 

If you think your child may need some help with their vision, take them to get screened by your pediatrician or optometrist. Children’s eyesight can change rapidly so it is definitely normal if something changes over a few months.