Growth spurts, acne, grades, and weekend plans… the teenage years are a stressful time of change. With these expected changes during puberty, transformations in the eye may go unnoticed.
The teenage years can introduce vision issues. A young adult who’s never needed corrective lenses may suddenly require glasses or contacts. Here are some common vision issues and eye health risks for teens.
Vision Risk Factors for Teens
Some risk factors of teenage behavior (using smartphones or playing contact sports) can pose unique vision issues. Especially relevant to teenagers are:
Digital Eye Strain: Prolonged use of digital screens has led to an increased number of teens experiencing vision problems and eye discomfort. This is commonly known as digital eye strain, which occurs when too much time is spent focusing on screens up close. Symptoms of digital eye strain include red eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and more. One solution is purchasing Blue IQ™ glasses, which prevent damaging screen hues from reaching your retinas and increase comfort after prolonged digital device use.
Eye Injuries: Many teens play contact sports like football and are prone to questionable behavior. This leaves them more vulnerable to eye injuries. Eyes can be scratched, poked, or subjected to blunt force. Wearing athletic glasses or protective eyewear can shield teenage eyes from most common injuries brought about by dirt, projectiles, and other foreign objects.
UV Light Damage: Studies show that 75–80% of UV exposure happens before the age of 18. Delicate cells in the retina can be damaged by UV rays, leading to vision loss or even cancer. Additionally, the whites of our eyes are prone to sunburn. Teens who spend time outdoors need to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes. And remember, not all sunglasses are created equal.
Vision issues in teens have been linked to poor academic performance, behavioral issues, and anxiety. Taking steps to reduce these risk factors will set teens up for success in every aspect of their lives.
Signs of Vision Problems in Teens
Sometimes certain visual skills are not developed correctly. A teen may not tell you that they have a vision problem in an attempt to fit in with their peers. Some signs your teen has an undiagnosed vision problem include:
Complaints of discomfort and fatigue
Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
Losing place when reading
Holding reading materials close to the face
Poor reading comprehension
Avoiding reading and other close activities
Covering one eye to read
Undetected vision problems can cause behavior commonly attributed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), like hyperactivity and distractibility. Due to these similarities, teens showing these warning signs should always have a comprehensive eye exam to avoid misdiagnosis that could severely impact their futures.
Schedule Your Teen’s Eye Exam Today
Since vision changes more frequently during teenage years, teens should receive an eye examination every year (or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist). Eden Prairie Eye Care offers state of the art technology to quickly and accurately diagnose your teen’s vision.
To make an appointment, contact our office at (952) 944-2792 or via our online platform, and we’ll make sure your teen is set up for success.