Guest Post: Best and Worst Eye Healthy Cities For Kids

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Enjoy the following guest post:  VSP Vision Care Reveals:  Best and Worst Eye Healthy Cities for Kids written by William Bogus, OD, FAAO, VSP Vision Care Optometrist, Salt Lake City.  For more information about children’s eye health, visit

As parents, we always strive to protect our children’s health.  We protect their shins when they play soccer, their skin when they’re on the beach, and we never skip out on annual wellness exams.  Yet there remains one critical aspect of health that parents often overlook: their child’s eye health.

Good vision and proper eye-care are critical for a child’s success—after all, 80% of what we learn is through our eyes!  This means that a comprehensive eye exam is one of the most important ways parents can give their child the best chance at success in school.  Studies reveal that:

  • One in four children has an undetected vision problem that can interfere with his or her ability to learn.

  • 15 million children go back to school each year with undiagnosed vision problems.

  • Poor vision is often mistaken for a learning disability in children.

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To shed some light into which areas of the country are doing a great job of keeping up on their kids’ annual eye exams and enrolling in vision benefits (and which areas could do better!), VSP Vision Care, the nation’s leading not-for-profit vision care company, created the 2013 Eye Health Index for Kids. The data is based on the percentage of children who received an eye exam in 2012 through VSP Vision Care, which provides vision insurance to 60 million Americans.

The Index revealed that the top eye healthy cities for kids are:  Portland, OR; Los Angeles, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Wichita, KS; Albuquerque, NM; Baton Rouge, LA; Central California; Detroit, MI; Cincinnati, OH; and Louisville, KY.

The least eye healthy areas for kids in the country include: Denver-Aurora, CO; Honolulu, HI; Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA; New Bedford-Fall River, MA; Providence, RI; and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA.

Whether or not your area of the country made the list, don’t forget that eye sight is critical to your child’s success both inside and outside of the classroom!  If a child can’t see the board during school, it may be hard for him or her to reach his or her full academic potential. Additionally, not having proper vision can negatively impact children socially or behaviorally, causing them to feel self-conscious or act out.  To best protect your kids’ eyes, make sure that they are receiving a comprehensive eye exam every year.  A comprehensive exam, unlike an in-school screening, will detect health problems as well as vision issues, including signs of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

So this year, don’t skip out on taking your child in to see an optometrist for an annual vision exam – it is the key to success!

If your child is nervous about his or her eye exam, share these fun resources to help him or her feel more comfortable.  VSP Vision Care has created coloring sheets, a story book about a child’s first exam, and even an “ABCs of Eye Exams” page to help you and your child learn what to expect.

To find out more information about VSP Vision Care’s Index, click on the “Learn About Your Eyes Page” on

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