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Summer is quickly fading away and the kids are already back in school. Every fall, I am dedicated to thinking about how I can help my kids start classes on the right foot. Like all parents, I’m focused on making sure they have their school supplies ready, classes picked out and summer reading assignments finished. However, some might be surprised to learn that scheduling an annual eye exam is also at the top of my back-to-school to-do list.

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Annual eye exams are very important for a child’s education and overall health. In fact, eye doctors are often the first to spot signs of chronic conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This also matters in the classroom since 80% of learning takes place through our eyes, according to the American Optometry Association. Despite this, the American Optometry Association shares that 1 in 4 kids have a vision issue.

kids in glassesEven in the most eye-healthy city (Reno, Nevada), only 16% of children under the age of 17 are going to the eye doctor, according to VSP Vision Care’s recent 2016 Eye Health Index. Luckily, the Eye Health Index also found that youth eye health is trending up in least eye-healthy cities. This means that even though Bakersfield, Merced, Stockton, Albuquerque and Salinas are some of the least eye-healthy overall, they rank among the cities where the highest percentage of residents under 17 are receiving eye exams.

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Ultimately, the Eye Health Index reminds us that it is important to schedule annual eye exams in order to give our kids the best chance at success this school year. However, going to the eye doctor can be a pretty intimidating for a little kid. Because of this, take a look at my post 9 Ways To Make The Eye Doctor Easy For Your Child, which is full of helpful tips.

To learn more about the Eye Health Index, check out the VSP website and see if your city made it in the list of top eye-healthy cities above.

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