Back-to-School Checklist #AOA #DigitalEyeStrain #ReadyforSchool #MCC #Sponsored

5 Flares Twitter 2 Facebook 3 Pin It Share 0 Google+ 0 5 Flares ×

Disclosure American Optometric Association
Back to School Checklist

Back to School Checklist


  • School Supplies
  • Backpack
  • Fall Clothes/Uniforms
  • New Shoes
  • Carpool
  • Health Physical
  • Allergy Action Plan
  • Medication Authorization
  • Proof of Immunization
  • Dentist
  • Eye Exam

Often a children’s eye exam can fall to the end of a checklist and we run out of time with all the back-to-school things we have to get done.  But please don’t forget or postpone this important item.  Just before my daughter started kindergarten, I took her to the pediatrician and the dentist, which we had done every year.  The pediatrician mentioned that she should go to an eye doctor, it was time to go beyond the eye chart in her office.  I noted it, but didn’t have much concern because my daughter didn’t seem to have any problems.  She played games, “read” books with me, knew all her colors, etc.  I always thought if children were having difficulty seeing they would have headaches, say things were blurry or in some way you would know.

With no signs of difficulty seeing, I postponed making an appointment for my daughter to visit an eye doctor.  Then Rosie had a minor illness that took us back to the pediatrician’s office and she asked if we had been to the eye doctor.  I said, no, but I would schedule it.  I asked around at her play group and one of the mom’s recommended a local pediatric eye doctor.  We had to wait for an appointment, but again I wasn’t concerned because Rosie wasn’t having any problems.  I even checked with her teacher, who told me that she didn’t notice any difficulty at all.  Fast forward to the end-of-day appointment and the doctor very matter-of-factly told us that his staff would be able to stay later for Rosie to pick out her glasses.  What?  Glasses?  I was almost comically confused.  I expected him to say everything looked fine and we would be on our way.  What?  Glasses?  Then he proceeded to tell me that she would be given one prescription now, but that in six months she would have to change to the second prescription.  It would be too much of an adjustment to just jump to the lenses she needed.  What?  Her eyes were so bad that she couldn’t go straight to the prescription she needed?  Huh?


I was shocked.  So much so that I said we would be back another day for the glasses.  Glasses?  I called my mom on the way home and asked if she had ever noticed Rosie squinting or having any difficulty what so ever.  Nope.  How could her eyes be so bad?  The doctor told me Rosie was far-sighted.  I myself had been near-sighted and honestly wasn’t even sure what far-sightedness entailed.  Did that mean she wouldn’t have to wear glasses all the time and just for reading?  I was caught completely off guard.  One of the children at Rosie’s preschool had parent’s who were both optometrists but they worked fairly far from our house so I hadn’t considered them.  But given this diagnosis, I called and made an appointment.  I took Rosie in and without knowing about the other doctor, Chloe’s mom told me the exact same thing the other doctor had told me!  When I mentioned that her teacher hadn’t noticed any problems, nor had her family, she said that oftentimes the eye muscles in children are strong and can adjust enough that you won’t know there is a problem.  That’s why it’s important to get an examination by an eye doctor, not just a screening by your pediatrician.

children_in _classroom_on_digital_devices

The American Optometric Association (AOA) sent me some important information that also discusses the effects of  technology usage on children’s vision.

  • An AOA survey reports that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 estimate they use an electronic device for three or more hours each day.
  • A separate AOA survey of parents revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. Most parents believe the time their kids spend using technology is far less than what it is.
  • Eighty percent of children surveyed report experiencing burning, itchy or tired eyes after using electronic devices for long periods of time.
  • These are all symptoms of digital eye strain, a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of technology. Additional symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.

As we prepare our kids to head back-to-school, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends each child have a comprehensive eye exam to help detect any issues, and particularly those related to digital eye strain. Going from summer vacation using fewer devices, to a classroom environment full of technology, children may experience itchy eyes, headaches or blurred vision. Often our children may not be able to articulate an issue with their vision so these exams are increasingly important.

The AOA recommends that every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after six months of age and before age three and every year thereafter. Children now have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, through age 18. 

child eye exam

When it comes to protecting eyes and vision from digital eye strain, taking frequent visual breaks is important. Children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

AOA Infographic

To learn more:

AOA website
AOA Twitter
AOA Facebook

5 Flares Twitter 2 Facebook 3 Pin It Share 0 Google+ 0 5 Flares ×