Back-To-School And Vision Impairments: 80% Of What Children Learn In School Is Presented Visually

Focusing On Eye Care Is Imperative For Preventing Vision Impairments 

It is July 2023 and the back-to-school year is here already. As a student, taking care of your eyes and getting regular eye exams is extremely important. Having good vision is crucial for learning, yet research shows that one in four children in the United States has significant vision problems that can negatively affect their education. Studies have also found that up to 80% of a child’s learning until the age of 12 happens through their eyesight. If a child has vision issues, it can impact their confidence, social skills, and participation in activities such as sports, art, and music. Therefore, it is highly recommended that children undergo a comprehensive eye exam before going back to school. Even if a child has no vision problems, they should still have an eye exam at ages 3 and 5 or 6, before starting first grade. Unfortunately, vision problems can go unnoticed as they may not be noticeable to the child. Blurry vision might seem normal to them and go unnoticed.

Unlike hunger or dental problems, vision issues are not as apparent. This is where parents, family members, and teachers can play an essential role in recognizing vision problems and advocating for proper eye care. Regular eye exams and eyeglasses, if necessary, should be a top priority for children’s vision health. Detecting any vision problems in children early on is crucial to ensure that they have the necessary visual skills to excel in school, sports, and other activities. Vision is the most important of the five senses and plays a vital role throughout childhood and beyond. Studies show that around 80% of what children learn in school is presented visually. Therefore, prioritizing eye care and exams for our children is essential to give them the best chance for success.

Learning Online Can Present Many Challenges

Excessive use of digital screens can cause digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). This refers to a group of eye and vision-related issues that arise from prolonged use of digital devices, and the more time spent online, the more likely individuals are to experience eye strain and convergence insufficiency. In fact, 57% of students suffer from eye strain, and 61% display symptoms of convergence insufficiency, with 17% of those experiencing severe cases. Recent research from ophthalmologists at Wills Eye Hospital confirms that excessive screen time can also increase eye strain in children, leading to convergence insufficiency, which makes reading difficult. Symptoms of digital eye strain include eye and vision-related problems and occur when there is excess exposure to a computer screen or other digital devices:

  • Eye Discomfort
  • Eye Fatigue
  • Dry eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Uncorrected vision/hidden health problems may also contribute to eye strain

 Avoiding/Reducing Eye Strain

The Mayo Clinic reports that treatment for eyestrain consists of adjusting to your daily habits or your environment. There may be underline conditions that require some individuals to have treatment. Also

Below are things that you can do to avoid and or reduce eye strain:

  • Wear glasses for specific activities like computer use and or reading
  • Take regular eye breaks to help refocus your eyes
  • Close blinds and/or shades
  • Avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a window or white wall
  • Place an anti-glare cover over the screen
  • Adjust your monitor to a position that reduces strain
  • Always put the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away so that the top of the screen is at or just below eye level

 The Mayo Clinic Suggests The Following Specific To Behavior And Lifestyle

  • Adjust the lightning
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Limit time on a computer screen and digital devices
  • Use artificial tears
  • Improve your space air quality
  • Choose the appropriate eyewear
Tips For Computers And Other Digital Devices (Mayo Clinic)
  • Refresh your eyes by blinking often
    • Take eye breaks, the 20-20-20 rule; look at something every 20 minutes, 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds
  • Reduce your glare by adjusting the lighting
  • Adjust your monitor/adjust the position of your digital device
  • Use a document holder
  • Adjust the screen

To ensure your child’s eyes are developing correctly and working together, it’s important to schedule their first eye exam with a pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist at 6 months of age. Neglecting this could lead to poor vision in one or both eyes for life.

Contact us immediately if you are experiencing any eye strain conditions. We are here for you to answer all your question about eye strain resulting from too much computer and digital devices exposure, and how to protect your children in the digital technology era.


Wilck Schwartz & Novak OD PC
Complete Eye Care
445 Kings Highway, Suite 1
Brooklyn, NY 11223



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