Kids are heading back to school with all the necessary supplies. Fall sports are underway with all the required gear. It’s a positive start to the school year, ready to be the best one yet.

To ensure that happens, consider your children’s eye health, too, since roughly 80% of what a child learns in school is information presented visually. In addition, according to the Boston Children’s Hospital, approximately one-third of the estimated 2.4 million eye injuries that occur annually in the United States are in people aged 17 and youngerFor these reasons, take time to promote good eye health for your children.

10 Ways to Promote Good Eye Health for Your Child

  1. See the pediatrician yearly. Experts agree that eye exams performed during well-child visits help detect problems with a child’s eye health, allowing for early treatment.
  2. Consider family history. Since nearsightedness, color blindness, and lazy eye (amblyopia) is often inherited, consider family history when assessing your children’s vision health.
  3. Get an eye exam before 1st grade. More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment, and 25% of school-aged children with vision problems. Get your child’s first eye exam before entering 1st grade & then regularly after to help detect & treat impairments early.
  4. Let go of common myths. For example, sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes, and eating a lot of carrots will improve your eyesight are common myths about children’s eye health. Educate yourself about Children’s Eye Health Myths and Facts to ensure your efforts are focused in the best way possible.
  5. Understand the relationship between vision & learning. While the more obvious signs of vision problems in children, such as not being able to see the chalkboard, are usually detected relatively easily, learning-related vision problems often are not. Realizing that a child struggling in school may have a learning-related vision problem may be the key some parents need to genuinely help their children succeed. Take time to understand the types of learning-related vision problems and their symptoms, especially if your child seems to be struggling for no apparent reason.
  6. Remember sports safety. Since most sports-related eye injuries happen to children, wearing protective eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities is necessary. Make sure safety eyewear fits the child and the activity correctly.
  7. Make sure kids wear sunglasses. Dr. Mark Borchert, division head of The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital LA, says, “The lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult. Learn the basics of sun safety to protect not only your child’s skin but eyes as well.
  8. Encourage a healthy diet. The best ways to do this include setting a good health example and making healthy options available at home, especially vegetables and dark leafy greens that contain many eye-healthy vitamins and minerals. In addition, talk to your doctor about a good multivitamin for children.
  9. Promote safety around the home. The Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits becomes apparent when you realize that 45% of eye injuries happen in the home, with many of those happening to children. Take time to be safe while working and playing at home; this begins with having safety glasses available for everyone.
  10. Be aware of symptoms of vision problems. From a poor performance in school and difficulty paying attention to headaches, eye pain, and trouble seeing information on a chalkboard, knowing the common symptoms of vision problems in children and their associated disorders can go a long way in detecting and treating problems early.

Young children can’t always tell if something is wrong with their eyes. They simply accept what they see as normal. Parents who educate themselves on children’s eye health are essential for detecting and treating vision problems early. In addition, taking steps to ensure good eye health through diet and safety measures adds another level of protection for a lifetime of healthy vision.