As a father of three who works closely with eye care providers on the regular, I’ve been given an interesting view of both worlds during a strange back-to-school season. One thing I’ve noticed is that teachers, parents, and ECPs are all doing their absolute best to stay healthy and keep everyone around them safe. And that’s not an easy feat, especially right now.
While we need this virtual learning model, whether hybrid or 100% online, I am also seeing some new challenges emerge as a result. I believe these challenges are no match for the local eye care provider, who can step in and fill an important role for members of the community.
Challenge 1: Are School Nurses Conducting Vision Screenings?
Many of your student patients are either attending school completely online, or they are doing a hybrid model of in-person and virtual. Either way, they are spending less time at the school campus, which means they’re not seeing the school nurse for their annual vision screenings. That makes their local optometrist even more important at the start of the school year.
Let your patients know you’re there to fill that role for them. Students shouldn’t have to go without their vision screenings and potentially struggle throughout the school year.
Challenge 2: Teachers Are Under Enough Pressure
When I was in 3rd grade, I struggled with seeing the blackboard. I didn’t really know I was struggling to see it until my teacher noticed and knew. That’s when I first got glasses.
The problem is, teachers are already under a lot of pressure in their profession. And lately, it’s been exponential. Naturally, there are going to be unintended consequences that result from this new learning setting. That means there will be issues that go unnoticed, probably long enough to where it could create learning trouble and delays.
As a local ECP, you have the knowledge and foresight to step in right here. It’s your opportunity to help these students see so they can learn and free these teachers up so they can teach.
Challenge 3: Increased Screen Time, More Digital Eye Strain
I’ve been home with my kids for the last six months, watching how they ended the school year virtually last year and started again this year. There has been, without a doubt, an increase in screen time — for both education and entertainment. And okay, I’ve experienced more screen time, myself.
As a parent, I have my concerns for my children’s vision. As an adult, I’m concerned for my own, and my wife’s vision. Digital eye strain (DES) is a real thing that not everyone fully understands. I’m lucky to be in communication with ECPs so often because now I know the signs and that one of the best solutions is Sync III lenses.
Your adult patients are likely dealing with a lot at home, which means they’re letting certain aspects of routine healthcare fall through the cracks. Remind them about the importance of vision care and that their vision plan covers basic eye care and makes premium products more affordable.
As an ECP, You Are the Solution
You are crucial to your community. Right now, you can step in and communicate with student patients and their families, letting them know that the obvious signs of changing vision and discomfort may not be observed the way they traditionally were. You are here to observe and solve.
And if you need a little help making eye care affordable for your patients this season, we have discounted pricing for students of all ages — our Super Single Vision Package pricing. This makes it easier for student patients to get into the lenses they need to be successful.