AOA’s Ready-for-School campaign targets discrepancy in children’s perceived digital device use

AOA’s Ready-for-School campaign targets discrepancy in perceptions of digital device use

Surprising results from the AOA's 2014 American Eye-Q® survey of the public about their eye health knowledge demonstrate the importance of eye exams for children, and before school is the prime time to remind your patients and the public about this need.

For the first time, the AOA surveyed children separately from adults, finding that parents greatly underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. The survey found that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day. However, a separate survey revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. (See page 22 of the July/August edition of AOA Focus for an in-depth look at the many factors affecting children's eye health and vision.)

This finding is a keystone of this year's AOA annual Ready-for-School public awareness campaign. The campaign stresses that eye doctors are concerned that this significant disparity may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs and symptoms associated with vision problems due to technology use, such as digital eye strain. (See the infographic on page 20 of the July/August edition of AOA Focus.)

The Ready-for-School campaign materials contain recommendations for avoiding digital eye strain, including the 20-20-20 rule: When using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away. According to the survey, 32 percent of children go a full hour using technology before they take a visual break. The materials also highlights new, and growing, concerns about the potential dangers of the kind of light emitted by digital devices.

The AOA recommends that every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3. In addition, the pediatric essential health benefit in the Affordable Care Act now provides yearly comprehensive eye exams to children through age 18.

Members now have additional access to public education campaign materials
While news releases, social media messages, and other public relations and public resources developed through the Optometry Awareness Campaign, will continue to be available to members through state affiliates, they are also now available on aoa.org, on the Optometrist Tools and Resources page (member login required).

The 2014 Ready-for-School campaign materials include: a template news release, key messages, social media posts, an email pitch for the media, and an infographic.

The national news release, with Dr. Lori Roberts as spokesperson, will be distributed over PR newswire on July 22nd.

About the American Eye-Q® survey:
The ninth annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB).  From March 20-25, 2014, PSB conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. (Margin of error is plus or minus 3.10 percentage points at a 95% confidence level)

About the Children's Omnibus survey:
The children's Omnibus survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB).  From March 24-31, 2014, PSB conducted 200 online interviews from March 24-31, 2014 with children ages 10 to 17. (Margin of error is plus or minus 6.93 percentage points at a 95% confidence level)

July 16, 2014

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