Skip to content

Add Eye Exams To Your Back-To-School Shopping List

During August, families across the country prepare for their children to go back to school. In Pennsylvania alone, children between the ages of 5 and 18 account for approximately 16% of the population – that’s over 2 Million children (U.S. Census 2013). Many of these children are excited to be seeing old classmates again; some are nervous about what the new year will bring and what their teachers will be like; and others, like Abby, don’t want to return.girl with glasses reading a big book

Abby was a good student for most of last year. She had lots of friends.¬†She met her¬†teacher previously and liked her. So what happened to cause Abby’s disinterest? Let’s take a closer look.

Toward the end of last school year Abby began to have problems seeing what was written on the chalk board. She didn’t tell anyone, but both her teacher and parents noticed that she wasn’t paying attention as much and it took longer to complete her homework. Her parents signed her up for a summer reading program, thinking she needed some extra support in that area. Abby began to get headaches and found reading difficult. Several times a day Abby texted her friends. By the end of summer she was holding her phone much closer to her eyes than before. She also began sitting closer to the television. Abby’s mom didn’t realize that Abby was looking at video screens – phone apps, video games, television, computer – as many hours each day as she was. In fact, the American Optometric Association reports that 83% of children state they use electronic devices more than three hours a day. (The study also revealed that their parents believed the time spent with electronics was much less.)

Abby was exhibiting many signs of a possible vision problem. Other signs may include:

  • blurry vision,
  • double vision,
  • rubbing of the eyes,
  • sensitivity to light, and
  • watery eyes.

Abby’s mother scheduled an exam with an eye care professional who determined that Abby was nearsighted. Abby picked the eyeglass frames she liked best, and her mom made sure they were fitted with polycarbonate lenses so they wouldn’t break as quickly. The doctor reminded Abby to follow the 20-20-20 rule as well – Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something that is 20 feet away.

Now Abby is excited to start the new school year. Abby and her mother are reminding friends to get eye exams as part of their back-to-school routine.

If you need assistance locating an eye care professional, here is a handy search tool