The Practicing Parent: Protecting your child's eyesight

What you eat, where you read, and how you hold your smartphone can all have a really big effect on the eyes, especially children's eyes. But there are ways to preserve that 20/20 vision, so bifocals aren't in your child's near future.

If your child isn't doing so well in school, could a new pair of glasses be the answer?

Optometrist Victoria Melcher says 80% of what students learn in school is presented to them visually.

"The earlier that vision problems are detected the less time will pass before a child falls behind in school," Melcher said. "so good vision is essential for children to meet their academic potential."

Melcher suggested four ways to keep your student's sight solid.

1: Take a break from those digital devices every 20 minutes. Look away 20 feet for at least 20 seconds - but the good news about your electronicsâ?¦"It is unlikely that they will cause permanent changes or ocular, um, damage," Melcher said.

2: Forget about overdosing on carrots. It's kale and green leafy vegetables that contain nutrients beneficial to different parts of the eyes.

3: Wear wraparound sunglasses with 100% UV and UVB protection. And get eye exams for the kids every time they go through a growth spurt, because chances are their vision changed. "Even the smallest of prescriptions make a difference in order order for eyes to work together," Melcher said.

One more thing, the farther you hold your digital device away from your face -the better for your eyes. Dr. Melcher says children's vision could change every six months until their growth levels off.

"Good vision is essential for children to meet their academic potential," Dr. Melcher said.

Here is more on a study of the connection of glasses and academic importance

Glasses and Academic Performance

In a study by Gansu's Bureau of Health, more than 18,000 students with poor vision were provided glasses to determine if their academic performance improved. Researchers found children who wore their glasses for one year increased average test scores by .15 to .22 standard deviations. Providing glasses increased learning per year by 33 to 50%. Even with these positive results, only 70% of students with poor vision agreed to wear the glasses for the study. Results showed that children with less bad eyesight were more likely to decline wearing glasses. Unexpectedly, girls had a much lower probability of wearing glasses than boys. Only 66% of girls wore glasses compared to 74 percent of boys. (Source: