As summer break comes to an end, children are preparing to get back in the routine of a new school year. Preparing to go back to school might mean buying new school supplies, a cool new outfit, or going to meet a new teacher. But something that shouldn’t be left off your back-to-school checklist is eye care.

With the increased use of virtual learning techniques and digital screens, it is more important than ever to make sure your child’s eyes are healthy to ensure they have everything they need to have a great school year. Here are some things to keep in mind about your child’s eye care as they enter a new school year:

Eye Exams

Children’s eyesight can change quickly and often, so regular eye exams are a must. It is recommended that you have your child’s eyes checked once a year, and the back-to-school season is the perfect time to schedule an annual eye exam. This will ensure they are going into the school year with healthy eyesight and are ready to learn. If your child already wears glasses this also means having their prescription checked and changed if needed.

Eye Problems Among Children

A child’s vision affects every aspect of their life. Vision problems can alter social confidence, ability to learn, chances to participate in fun activities, and so much more. It is critical to get ahead of vision problems. It is important to learn about common eye conditions and issues among children so that you can easily spot them and help your child.

Common Problems

Kids Health lists the following diagnoses as the most common eye problems that school-aged children experience.

Strabismus

This condition occurs when the eyes point in different directions. This includes crossed eyes, squinted eyes, turned eyes, and lazy eyes. Strabismus can be noticeable all the time or be a problem that comes and goes. Children that experience this problem will have vision that will not develop properly. Treatment at an early age is important to help the child have good vision.

Amblyopia

This happens when one eye is “lazy” and has a much more cloudy vision than the other eye. Treatment for Amblyopia, often including patching and/or glasses, can drastically improve children’s vision and set them up for success in the future.

Chalazion

Chalazion is defined as the swelling of the eyelid, and this issue is caused by blockage in the eyelid’s glands. It can cause redness, swelling, and oozing from either one or both eyes. Treatment types are dependent on the child but usually minimize the problem within 3-4 months.

Epiphora

Epiphora is when a child is experiencing a blocked tear duct which usually causes watery eyes. Most often, the issue fixes itself over time but it is important to have your child’s eyes checked if they are experiencing watery eyes as it could be a sign of a different problem.

Signs to Watch for

Common symptoms that children experience in their eyes are usually due to the problems listed above. But, it is possible for these symptoms to be indicators of a more serious issue. That being said, if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to have their eyes checked.

  • Persistent watering of the eyes
  • Eyes moving unusually
  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Struggle to see far away
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Frequent headaches
  • Short attention span

Adding an eye exam to your child’s back-to-school list this fall will ensure that your child can do all the things they are set out to do this year whether it be acing their tests or playing games with their friends. It is just as important to take care of your child’s eye health as it is the rest of their body, so be proactive this year and make sure your child has their eye health checked.

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