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Back-To-School: Why [Eye_Exams] Are More Important Than Ever

Since the onset of COVID-19, many children have been learning remotely through distance learning programs. While parents are concerned about their children falling behind academically, eye doctors are concerned that undiagnosed vision problems may impact the child’s school performance.

Undetected vision problems may hinder a child’s ability to learn. That’s why eye doctors strongly recommend that children undergo a thorough eye exam before the new school year begins.

While it’s tempting to rely on vision screenings provided by schools, these superficial visual acuity tests can identify only a limited number of eyesight problems. Only a comprehensive eye exam conducted by an eye doctor can accurately diagnose and address a wide range of problems related to vision and eye health.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Up to 80% of children’s learning is visual, so even the slightest vision problem can have a negative impact on their academic achievement. Taking a child in for an eye exam once a year will allow your eye doctor to detect and correct refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, and check their visual skills, such as convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing and more.

Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to detect mild and serious eye health conditions. Routine eye exams are especially important for children with a family history of eye health problems.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend looking at digital screens was already a concern in the pre-pandemic era—but the COVID pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did prior to the pandemic.

For one thing, spending prolonged periods of time on digital devices forces the eyes to work harder, making children (and adults) more susceptible to digital eye strain, one of the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who spend 2 or more consecutive hours staring at a screen are at higher risk of developing this condition.

Some computer vision syndrome symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms can be caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Glare and reflections from the screen
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor posture
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems

In addition to digital eye strain, several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “near work” — writing, reading and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine experienced slower myopia progression. Some researchers think that exposure to sunlight and looking at distant objects while playing outdoors might help decrease myopia progression.

While regular eye exams are essential for every member of the family, they’re especially important for those who spend a good portion of their day in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual eye exam. Schedule an appointment with EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today!

Q&A

1. At what age should a child have an eye exam?

According to the American and Canadian Optometric Associations, it’s recommended for a child to have their first eye exam between 6-12 months of age.

Before a child starts school, they should undergo an eye exam, and every one to two years after that, based on their eye doctor‘s recommendation.

2. Does my child need an eye exam if they passed the school vision screening?

Yes! School vision screenings are superficial eye evaluations designed to diagnose a limited number of vision problems like myopia. They do not check for visual skills and other problems that may hinder your child’s academic success.

Your eye doctor will evaluate your child’s vision and eye health, along with visual abilities, including depth perception and eye tracking, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are “school-ready.”

 

Our Key to Growth: Cultivating an Attitude of Care

From about the fourth or fifth grade, I knew I wanted to be an optometrist. Being nearsighted, I was at the optometrist’s office often, and I always loved the warm and welcoming staff. Today, replicating that experience for our patients is how we differentiate our five practices, and why after 60 years, we continue to flourish and grow.

When COVID-19 hit, three of our practices stayed partially open for emergency care. After about five weeks, we were able to ramp up again and, following guidelines from the AOA (American Optometric Association), and the COA (California Optometric Association), have been seeing more patients than ever. Because the larger practice locations have several exam rooms, we can accommodate an increased patient flow, providing the same high standard of care while adhering to heightened safety and sanitation protocols.

The ability to help so many patients during this time reflects the guiding principle of our practice – we truly care about our patients as people. We take pride in being heartfelt with our patients, letting them know we truly care about them, and plan to be here for them for many years to come.

These are lifelong relationships, with generations of family members coming into our practice. We listen, have empathy, share in their triumphs and sorrows, and they become part of our extended family.

As we continue to care for patients in need, we are busier than ever and have needed to supplement our staff with additional doctors. Because of the business support we’ve received during our long-standing relationship with VSP Global businesses and the Premier Program, we engaged their OD recruitment and matching service, Premier Pathways, to support our hiring efforts. We work with every VSP line of business, from Marchon to VSPOne labs, and those relationships have been very helpful to us while growing our practices. Premier Pathways was able to increase our exposure to highly qualified candidates, give us credibility due to the affiliation with VSP, and secure candidates who met our specific requirements. Instead of having to navigate and pay for more generalized online employment services, we were able to choose from a list of highly qualified ODs, recommended by a company who knows us, our business, and how to recruit professionals. With the help of Premier Pathways, we selected and hired two optometrists who are highly skilled and share our devotion to patients as people.

In all of our practices, we strive to build relationships with our patients and provide that warmth that I felt as a ten-year-old boy at the optometrist’s office. As I see it, genuinely caring about patients and cultivating an attitude of care throughout the practice is of utmost importance, and hiring staff that share those same values is key to that continuity. Because we feel and demonstrate that genuine care for our patients, they trust us, keep coming back, and together we flourish.

Authored by Dr. John Coen and originally published at https://newsroom.vspglobal.com/aseyeseeit/our-key-to-growth-cultivating-an-attitude-of-care?utm_source=News%20Alert&utm_medium=EyeCarePro.com&utm_campaign=Pathways

Fit & Fog: A Guide for Glasses and Mask Wear

As we all don masks amidst the pandemic, more than just your nose and mouth can be obstructed. Fog caused by your breath escaping your mask causes unwanted fog on your eyewear too. The AARP offers these tips to avoid this annoying side effect.

As more Americans don face masks to venture outside during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those who wear glasses are finding that their lenses fog up. It’s a problem that bespectacled surgeons, as well as goggle-wearing skiers, have long experienced.

Why does it happen? In a 1996 article in Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics, Tom Margrain, a professor at Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, explained that in general “when a spectacle wearer enters a warm environment after having been in a cooler one, his/her spectacles may ‘mist up’ due to the formation of condensation on the lens surface.” He went on to say that polycarbonate lenses demisted more rapidly than those made of glass.

With that in mind, if your eyeglasses are fogging when you put on a face mask, it’s because warm, moist air you exhale is being directed up to your glasses. To stop the fogging, you need to block your breath from reaching the surfaces of your lenses.

The Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England published an article in 2011 that offered a simple method to prevent fogging, suggesting that, just before wearing a face mask, people wash their spectacles with soapy water, shake off the excess and then allow the lenses to air-dry.

“Washing the spectacles with soapy water leaves behind a thin surfactant film that reduces this surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer,” the article reveals. “This ‘surfactant effect’ is widely utilised to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations.” Antifogging solutions used for scuba masks or ski goggles also accomplish this.

Another tactic is to consider the fit of your face mask, to prevent your exhaled breath from reaching your glasses. An easy hack is to place a folded tissue between your mouth and the mask. The tissue will absorb the warm, moist air, preventing it from reaching your glasses. Also, make sure the top of your mask is tight and the bottom looser, to help direct your exhaled breath away from your eyes.

If you are using a surgical mask with ties, a 2014 article in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England advises going against your instincts. Tie the mask crisscross so that the top ties come below your ears and the bottom ties go above. It will make for a tighter fit.

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Don’t touch your face! Wiping fog from glasses with your fingers could lead to more dirt, germs, and smudges on your lenses. Read the tips below to keep fog away.

Click here for more information or you can read the full article at https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/eyewear-face-masks.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-HLTH&socialid=3674304838.

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