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As kids prepare to trade days playing outside for days reading, writing, and using computer screens for learning, there is no better time to talk to them about eye health. Scheduling your child’s yearly eye exam as part of your back-to-school preparation is also a great way to make sure they are prepared to have a healthy and successful school year. In addition to regular health and vision screenings, keeping your kids’ eyes in tip-top shape is as easy as talking to them about ways to protect their eyesight.

You can find a few talking points to help start the conversation below:

  1. A healthy diet is key to a healthy body and healthy eyes. Fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens and carrots, have lots of nutrients shown to help keep the eyes healthy. Try to incorporate fatty fish like salmon, halibut, or tuna into your diet a few times a week, as they have been shown to help your eyes too.
  2. Staying active is also important for overall health and reducing the risk for diseases like diabetes, which can have negative impacts on your eyesight.
  3. Give your eyes a break from screens. Whether it’s the TV or tablet at home, or computer at school, eyes need a break from looking at screens all day. Experts recommend following the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time make sure to look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Keep the germs away from your eyes. Washing your hands frequently throughout the day isn’t only helpful to keep from getting sick, it’s also crucial to protect your eyes. If you must touch your eyes, especially to put in contact lenses, make sure to wash your hands first.
  5. Bring up any vision changes. Are you suddenly having a hard time seeing the board at the front of class? Squinting a lot? Or having trouble seeing properly? Let your teacher or a parent know about any changes in your vision so any potential issues can be addressed right away.
  6. Wear your glass or contacts. If you’ve been prescribed glasses make sure to wear them; they help improve your vision and can help prevent eye strain and headaches. Make sure to store them properly when you’re not wearing them.
  7. Rock your shades outdoors. The sun’s powerful rays can hurt your eyes, so find your favorite pair of sunglasses and wear them anytime you go outside. And remember, never look directly into the sun as it can cause permanent damage to your eyes.