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Five Things to Add to Your Back-to-School List For Your Child’s Eye Health

August 6, 2021 | By 2020 On-site

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Pencils, notebooks, folders...an eye exam? It’s not something that you’ll find on the shelves of your local Target, but there are studies that directly link success in school with corrected vision. As a parent, it's important to recognize the importance that eye exams have in identifying and correcting vision problems so your child can succeed in the classroom.

When you take another look at your back-to-school shopping list, be sure to include the following items that you can buy at the store that can also boost your child’s eye health this school year.

A Refillable Water Bottle

 

If your child is making the transition back to the classroom this fall, consider putting them on the bus with a refillable water bottle. It’s likely that after a year of virtual learning with parents supplying fresh glasses of water and snacks throughout the day, children may struggle with dehydration in their first days back in the classroom. 

Dehydration inhibits your eyes from producing tears, leading to dry eye, eye strain, and other vision problems. Clear vision is essential for young students, whether they’re taking on their first chapter book, reading the equation on the whiteboard from the back of the room, or aiming a shot at the basketball hoop in gym class. When vision problems are left untreated, children can struggle to perform their best at school and pave the way for more serious — and sometimes irreversible — vision conditions later in life. 

Recommended reading: 5 Ways to Treat and Prevent Dry Eye

Even if your child isn’t heading back to the classroom this school year, a water bottle that they hand-picked from the store is a fun way for them to stay healthy and hydrated while they tune into class from home!

Hand Sanitizer

Children’s hands will touch a lot of surfaces throughout the school day; from desks and pencils, to tablet screens and keyboards. A heavy supply of hand sanitizer is a must-have for your back-to-school shopping list. 

Clean hands are not just important for combating the spread of COVID-19. Bacteria and germs from hands can pass into the eyes and cause conjunctivitis — more commonly known as pink eye. Pink eye can take up to a week to clear up, keeping your child at home and at risk of falling behind in the classroom.

A Sleep Mask

 

For parents of young children, the summer months are filled with vacations, sleepovers, and overnight camps — all things that suggest a good night’s sleep, but rarely ever provide it. With summer coming to an end and the school year approaching fast, it’s time to get your little ones back into a bedtime schedule and nightly routine.

A good night’s sleep is required for good eye health. After spending so many hours a day using our eyes, it’s important for them to get enough time to recover while we’re asleep. So, why not add a different kind of mask to your back-to-school list this year? The use of eye masks can result in more REM time and elevated levels of melatonin, helping your child fall asleep and stay asleep.

You should also make it a rule that your children’s electronic devices be put away at least 30 minutes before their bedtime. Devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers give off short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light which can hinder sleep by suppressing melatonin production. Think: mask on, devices off! 

Blue Light Glasses

 

 

Blue light glasses became a hot trend among remote workers and virtual learners alike during the pandemic. A way to protect your eyes from glaring computer screens and accessorize your work-from-home uniform? It’s a no-brainer! 

In addition to wearing blue-light-blocking glasses, there are setting changes that you can implement on your screens to minimize visual strain, like adjusting brightness and color temperature. But, that won’t stop your child from reaching for their favorite pair of blue-light glasses before a Zoom class or online study session!

Although blue light glasses are helpful in alleviating symptoms of eye strain, they will not help you see more clearly. If your child shows persisting signs of vision impairment, they may need a professional eye exam for vision correctness.

An Eye Exam

The best way to start off a school year on the right foot is with an eye exam! Don’t wait until your child’s grades start to slip and you begin to notice the signs of vision impairment in their constant eye rubbing and squinting. Get ahead of the problem before it becomes a problem.

"We stress the importance of seeing kids before the golden age of six,” says Dr. Pena, OD at 2020 On-Site, “If a child has an undiagnosed vision correction after six, it can be more difficult to correct vision to 20/20.” In fact, the American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first eye exam at six months, another exam at age three, and again at the start of each school year as their vision changes.

This will be the easiest thing to check off your back-to-school list this year because, at 2020 On-site, we come to you! Our mobile vision clinics travel to schools, offices, and neighborhoods in the Greater Boston area, making it easier for parents like you to secure a comprehensive eye exam for your child that takes only 20 minutes. Plus, we have a wide selection of frames onboard our clinics, eliminating the need to make an extra trip to go to a store.

Check out our growing list of locations and book your child’s appointment today! Don’t see your town on the list? Click here to fill out our survey and see us roll into your neighborhood next!

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