According to Think About Your Eyes, a national public awareness campaign shedding light on the importance of an annual eye exam, 80 percent of all learning comes through the eyes. Children are at a strong disadvantage in school and elsewhere when they can’t see properly. This is why the Vision Council, in line with the American Optometric Association, recommends children have their first eye exam with an eyecare provider when they’re between 6 months to a year old, at least once between ages 3 and 5 or as recommended and annually starting at age 6 or before entering first grade.

A family affair

Eye exams are also crucial for adults. This is why we should make eyecare a family affair, and schedule eye exams for yourself and your children.

“Vision effects the entire spectrum of a child’s — and an adult’s — life. And although vision correction is a solvable problem, people don’t always make it a priority,” says Ashley Mills, CEO of the Vision Council. “Ask a child who gets glasses at age 8, and until that moment had no idea trees had individual leaves. That child gets the importance of vision correction, but until glasses were on his face, he didn’t know any better. People don’t realize everything they’re missing, so we at the Vision Council are on a mission to make people prioritize their vision, care for it and protect it for life.”

During an eye exam, speak to your eyecare provider about the following: your family’s day-to-day life, any vision issues experienced, eye protection while outdoors, screen use habits, and the various frame and lens options available. That way, an eyecare provider can help you and your little one(s) find vision solutions to fit your unique needs.

Additional factors

Generally, kids receive about three times the annual amount of UV exposure from the sun as adults, yet just more than 56 percent of American adult parents say their child wears sunglasses, as per a survey by the Vision Council. Children should be wearing sunglasses with lenses that offer UVA/UVB protection every time they’re outdoors during daylight hours.

Plus, there’s the abundance of computer, tablet, cell phone and TV screens children stare at each day. According to a survey by the Vision Council, more than 70 percent of American adult parents report their child spends two or more hours daily on a digital device, putting them at risk for digital eye strain, which is the physical discomfort experienced after prolonged screen use.