In the age of social media and search engines, it’s very easy to consume too much information and become confused, overwhelmed, or misinformed.
As doctors, we encourage our patients to stay informed on their health and the options available to them. But, if you want to set yourself and your child up for a lifetime of healthy eyes, we recommend trusted resources such as one of our doctors or a medical association.
As this school year begins, there is still much uncertainty around our new normal. With myths and misinformation constantly circulating, don’t turn to social media or search engines for information, consult with one of our doctors at VisionFirst.
Since the school year is just around the corner for many, here are seven common myths debunked about children’s eye health:
Myths About Children’s Eye Health
- Pink eye only happens in young children. While young kids are known for getting pink eye, teens, college students, and adults are also at risk — especially those who don’t clean their contacts properly. The best way to avoid pink eye and prevent the spread, is to practice good hygiene, including washing your hands, not touching your eyes, and using clean towels and other products around the face.
- Antibiotics are necessary to cure your child’s pink eye. Antibiotics are rarely necessary to treat pink eye. There are three types of pink eye: viral, bacterial, and allergic conjunctivitis. Most cases are caused by viral infections or allergies and do not respond to antibiotics. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial conjunctivitis depending on severity. Mild cases of bacterial conjunctivitis usually resolve on their own within 7 to 14 days without treatment.
- Sun is bad for your eyes. While it’s true that long-term exposure to the sun without proper protection can increase the risk of eye disease, some studies suggest sun exposure is necessary for normal visual development. Children who have less sun exposure seem to be at higher risk for developing myopia or nearsightedness. Just make sure they’re protected with UV-blocking sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Blue light from screens is not damaging children’s vision. Our doctors recommend the 20-20-20 rule for screen usage: look at an object at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, consider investing in a pair of Eyezen Blue Light Blocking glasses if you or your child will be using a screen for several hours a day. These are available at your local VisionFirst location.
- Vision loss only happens to adults. The eyes of a child with amblyopia (lazy eye) may look normal, but this eye condition can steal sight if not treated. Amblyopia is when vision in one of the child’s eyes is reduced because the eye and brain are not working together properly. Strabismus (crossed eyes) is another eye condition that can cause vision loss in a child. Strabismus is when the eyes do not line up in the same direction when focusing on an object.
- All farsighted children need glasses. Most children are farsighted early in life. It’s normal. It doesn’t mean your child needs glasses because they use their focusing muscles to provide clear vision for both distance and near vision. Children do need glasses when their farsightedness blurs their vision or leads to strabismus. They will also need glasses if they are significantly more farsighted in one eye compared with the other, a condition that puts them at risk of developing amblyopia.
- Annual eye exams aren’t necessary for kids. Your child’s eyes should be checked regularly. A comprehensive exam involves the use of eye drops to dilate the pupil, enabling a more thorough investigation of the overall health of the eye and visual system.
If you have a question about the information discussed above or other matters, please contact your VisionFirst office.