So what can parents do to help their kids reach their full potential and be sure their eyes are ready for school?
Schedule yearly, comprehensive eye exams
A comprehensive eye exam from an eye doctor is one of the best investments you can make in your child’s education and overall well-being. Not only will an eye exam make sure your kids can read their devices comfortably, it will make sure their eyes are healthy. Through the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, parents can take advantage of yearly comprehensive eye exams for children ages 18 and younger.
And don’t be misled by thinking the screening that your school, or even your pediatrician may offer is complete. Many school screenings test only for distance visual acuity, but a child who can see 20/20 can still have a vision problem. Research from the American Optometric Association (AOA) American Eye-Q® Survey shows that 89 percent of parents mistakenly believe that vision screenings are an effective way to detect vision problems in infants and children.
The 20-20-20 Rule
To give the eyes a break, the AOA recommends the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
Limit time spent on digital devices
Many digital devices are still relatively new and the long-term effects are still being determined, so use devices in moderation. Today's electronic devices give off high-energy, short-wavelength, blue and violet light. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious eye conditions in later life.
Comprehensive eye exams performed by an eye doctor are the only way to accurately assess eye health, diagnose an eye disorder or disease, and determine the need for glasses or contact lenses.
To find an optometrist in your area, head to our Find A Doctor Section.