Protecting your child's eyesight

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 31 2014 03:17:39 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 01 2014 06:20:00 AM EDT
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -

Janece Henderson stalled as she tried to read a poster just a few feet away.

“It was hard for me to see the smartboard,” she said.

Henderson was one of about 40 students who failed her school's vision test. That's when the principal and area doctors stepped in with free exams and glasses.  A typical exam and glasses could cost about $300.

“The earlier that vision problems are detected, the less time will pass before a child falls behind in school,” explained Optometrist Dr. Victoria Melcher.

According to Melcher, 80 percent of what students learn in school is presented to them visually.

“Good vision is essential for children to meet their academic potential,” she said.

Here are four ways to keep your student's sight solid: first, take a break from those digital devices every 20 minutes. Then look away 20 feet for at least 20 seconds. Also, the farther you hold your digital device away from your face, the better for your eyes. Melcher says children's vision could change every six months until their growth levels off.

Next, you don't have to overdose on carrots. It's kale and other green leafy vegetables that contain nutrients beneficial to different parts of the eyes.

Also, wear wraparound sunglasses with 100 percent UV and UVB protection. Lastly, get eye exams for the kids every time they go through a growth spurt, chances are their vision changed.

“Even the smallest of prescriptions make a difference in order for eyes to work together,” Melcher explained.

“I think my grades will go up,” Henderson said.

It looks like these new glasses may just give these students the “all clear” to get ahead in class.

Additional Information:

In a study by Gansu’s Bureau of Health, more than 18,000 students with poor vision were provided glasses to determine if their academic performance improved. Researchers found children who wore their glasses for one year increased average test scores by .15 to .22 standard deviations. Providing glasses increased learning per year by 33 to 50 percent. Even with these positive results, only 70 percent of students with poor vision agreed to wear the glasses for the study. Results showed that children with less bad eyesight were more likely to decline wearing glasses. Unexpectedly, girls had a much lower probability of wearing glasses than boys. Only 66 percent of girls wore glasses compared to 74 percent of boys. (Source: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/impact-eyeglasses-academic-performance-primary-school-students-china)

Reasons for Wearing Glasses

  • Glasses help correct errors within the eye that hinder clear or detailed vision.
  • Short sight (myopia) is a condition in which near objects are seen clearly and distant objects blurred.
  • Long sight (hypermetropia/hyperopia) refers to being able to see objects far away clearly, but near objects appear blurry.
  • Presbyopia occurs at around age 40 and later. As we grow older, most of us find it difficult to read at arm’s length. This is the time we start wearing reading glasses, bifocals, and varifocals.
  • Astigmatism is a condition which causes distorted vision due to misshape of the cornea. As a result, the eye sees more powerful in one direction than the other. Objects held in different positions focus differently, causing parts of the object to appear blurry.

(Source: http://www.seeability.org/eyecare_hub/carersandsupportersinfo/wearing_glasses/understand_ing_why_people_may_need_to_wear_glasses.aspx)

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