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What you should know about your child's eye exam

For starters, did you know your child should get their first eye exam at around six months old? Learn more about this vital checkup with "Take KARE of Your Health."

WAYZATA, Minn. — August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month. 

The American Optometric Association recommends taking your child to an optometrist for the first time at around six months old.

Dr. Leah Ruhland, at Family Eye Clinic and Contact Lens Center in Wayzata, agrees, recommending that you take your child in for an exam between six months to one year old. 

Ruhland says the second appointment should come when they enter preschool, and by the time your child enters kindergarten, annual exams should begin. She also says you should make an appointment if you see signs that something could be wrong.

"If they're having any sort of squinting behavior, or if you notice any kind of lazy eye, or eye turn that seems concerning...if they're sitting very close to the television or if they're bringing things really close to them to see better," she said.

Ruhland also says watch screen time. After remote learning during the pandemic, she's starting to notice more children come in with vision problems related to staring at screens.

"Kids are having more trouble with their eye muscles being able to focus up-close, especially with all the screen time they're all doing," she said.

Ruhland recommends what she calls the 20-20-20 rule. 

"That means about every 20 minutes, if you can, take about a 20 second break and look far off into the distance about 20 feet away just to let your eye muscles relax from being in that near position for so long," she said.

Another thing to remember: wear sunglasses. Ruhland says sun protection is important for protecting the tissue in and around your eyes.

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