Back-to-School Pearls

The end of August sees a rush of pediatric patients who require exams before the start of the new school year. Here are a few tips for managing these patients.

By Jaime Falco, OD

Using sodium fluorescein on every patient may reveal subclinical signs of ocular surface disease due to increased digital screen exposure or seasonal changes.

Educate patients on how blue light can affect sleep rhythms and visual comfort. Consider suggesting blue-light–filtering lenses for all patients, not just daily computer users.

Patients often lack the words to explain their symptoms. Listen for symptoms that could describe conditions such as asthenopia (which may be multifactorial) or dry eye disease and accommodative strain (which can exist simultaneously).

Prescribe technologies that proactively manage visual needs and are compatible with students’ digital screen-driven lifestyle. For example, I like to prescribe daily disposable contact lenses that retain moisture, such as the BioTrue ONEday (Bausch + Lomb) contact lenses, which are designed to help the lens maintain 98% of its moisture throughout the day.

Encourage school-age patients to play outside, get involved in extracurricular sports, or go for a hike or a walk to help limit their overexposure to digital devices. This will not only provide their eyes with a break, but it will also allow them to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors before the winter months begin.

Remind patients (and parents) that annual eye exams can not only detect vision changes before the start of the new school year but may also detect early signs of serious health problems or eye diseases.