Expert shares his perspective on back-to-school eye care

ByMartha R. Camara

Sep 8, 2022

September 08, 2022

2 minute read


Source/Disclosures

Source:

Healio Interviews


Disclosures: Kraus does not report any relevant financial information.


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As children transition back to school, factors such as the new environment, activities, and increased time spent in front of digital screens bring eye-related conditions to the fore.

Healio/OSN spoke with a member of the OSN pediatrics/strabismus board Courtney L.. Kraus, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, on how parents and teachers can help children take good care of their eyes.



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Helio/OSN: What are the most common eyerelated conditions associated with back to school?

Kraus: The need for eyeglasses, which includes current eyeglass wearers who need to visit their doctor’s office for re-refraction, as well as refractive errors in children becoming more evident and/or troubling.

For older children, fatigue screen. As more classrooms and teaching modalities use computers and other devices, it’s important to set limits on these after-hours non-academic screen activities.

In addition, pay attention to strabismus disorders. In particular, children with convergence insufficiency may experience more eye strain and headaches when returning to books after a summer spent outdoors. Parents may notice that children with intermittent deviations spend more time with their eyes closed when they come home from school more tired.

Helio/OSN: Hwhat is the prevalence of schoolrelated eye injuries and conditions?

Kraus: Accidents can happen anywhere, and when it comes to children and eye injuries, we know that children tend to sustain accidental injuries where they spend the most time. So, with the return to school, it becomes a potential place of injury. Playground accidents can happen and parents can discuss safe play with their children, especially when it comes to projectiles such as rocks and sticks. Especially for young children, it’s important to instill a sense of responsibility when it comes to safe behavior indoors, such as not running around with pencils and pens and using scissors safely. If we can get just one child to think twice before throwing a rock or running with a pencil, that’s an eye injury that could have been avoided.

Helio/OSN: How parents can help their children to prepare for these problems?

Kraus: Children should be reminded not to be afraid to speak to a teacher or responsible adult if they see something they know is dangerous. Ensuring children are well rested, well hydrated and well nourished prepares them for success in the classroom, and this advice extends to the eyes, hopefully avoiding some of the headaches or discomfort that may occur. with the sudden return to homework and homework.

Helio/OSN: Is there anything teachers can do to prevent eye problems?

Kraus: Accidents happen. Teachers play an important role in setting the tone for a classroom. It is important to start the school year with a firm policy of no dangerous behavior, especially for the very young – again, no running with scissors, no throwing objects at friends. Teachers should know where their eyewash stations are and students should wear goggles during chemistry class.

Also, teachers can watch out for children who sit at the back of the class and seem uninterested or unfocused on the board or who squint a lot. These children may need glasses to correct a refractive error.

For more information:

Courtney L. Kraus, MD, can be contacted at Wilmer Eye Institute, 615 N. Wolfe St., Wilmer 230, Baltimore, MD 21205 email: [email protected]