The year 2020 is the perfect time to bring your eye health front and center. August is National Children’s Vision and Learning Month. As your front line, primary eye care provider doctors of optometry are here to assist you and your family as you welcome a new child and as your children go back to school.
The Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) recommends children receive comprehensive eye exams on a regular schedule that includes:
- A comprehensive baseline eye exam between the ages of 6 months and 12 months
- At least one comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5 to check for any conditions that could have long-term effects
- An annual, comprehensive eye exam starting with the state mandated, kindergarten eye exam
A child’s eyes go through rapid changes, especially in the first six years of life. The IOA recommends children receive a comprehensive infant eye assessment. Several optometrists across the state participate in the InfantSEE program, which provides a free infant eye assessment. An InfantSEE assessment can uncover relatively common vision issues such as refractive difference to more serious issues including pupil abnormalities and congenital cataracts. Undetected deficits in any visual area can impact a child’s life, from school to sports to social interactions. Visit infantsee.org to learn more about the program and to find a provider near you.
Many children in Illinois are first introduced to their eye doctor with the state mandated kindergarten eye exam required for every child that enters kindergarten. The IOA recommends children receive a comprehensive eye exam before entering kindergarten and annually thereafter, even if they are asymptomatic and low risk, to ensure proper development. Most demands in school are vision related, whether a student is trying to see the board or focus their eyes on reading, children need to be prepared. Without healthy vision, students can face unnecessary challenges not only in the classroom, but also to their mental, physical, social and emotional well-being.
With the concern over COVID-19, this year more than ever, children are engaging in electronic devices. Today, glasses have become specialized through advancements in lens technologies that can protect young eyes from the dangers of blue light. These technologies offer enhancements that were not available decades ago. However, even with these improvements to technology, we want to remind children, their parents and teachers to practice good visual hygiene by taking breaks from screens every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
The year 2020 is the perfect time to begin practicing the 20:20:20 rule and to think about your eyes. To learn more about eyes or to find a local eye doctor, visit: thinkaboutyoureyes.com.