Boy wearing glasses seated at a desk in a classroomAs the school year kicks off, ensuring your child's eye health is crucial for their overall well-being and academic success. We sat down with Dr. Rob Tauscher, M.D., an esteemed member of our pediatric optometry and ophthalmology team at UAB Callahan Eye, to discuss the importance of regular eye check-ups, signs to watch for, and how parents can contribute to their children's eye safety.

When is the right time to get your child's eyes checked?
Every child should undergo a newborn eye examination shortly after birth, either by their pediatrician or a certified healthcare professional. Following that, eye exams should be conducted between 6 and 12 months of age and then annually during their pediatric well-child visit. These screenings usually involve simple pen light exams or photo screenings, a specialized process that captures images of the eyes and identifies the need for glasses or any misaligned eyes. If a concern arises during these screenings, a referral may be made to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a more comprehensive evaluation.

What signs should parents and caregivers be vigilant about?
Signs of decreased vision include squinting to see distant objects, difficulty recognizing familiar words or shapes, or complaining of headaches. During the school year, some signs can include struggling to see the classroom board and even becoming disinterested in things like reading because of the strain on their eyes.

How can parents protect their children's eyes?
Regular pediatric visits, where screenings are conducted, are the first step. Additionally, preventing eye injuries is vital. Protective sports goggles or polycarbonate frames, which are shatter-resistant, should be worn during activities that involve projectiles, sharp objects, or potential explosives.

Tauscher Headshot DOVS websiteRob Tauscher, M.D.With the rise of digital device use among children, what steps can parents take to ensure eye health?
While electronic devices won't cause permanent damage, they can lead to eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. Encourage your child to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at least 20 feet into the distance. This simple practice helps alleviate eye strain and maintain eye health.

What advice do you have for student-athletes to prevent eye injuries?
Eye injuries from sports are unfortunately common, particularly in high-velocity sports. For activities like basketball, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse, wearing shatter-resistant sports goggles is strongly recommended. If the sport involves a helmet, such as football or hockey, adding a shatterproof face shield and visor provides an additional layer of protection.

Rob Tauscher, M.D., underlines the importance of regular eye check-ups, especially for children embarking on a new school year. Whether it's routine screenings, digital device habits, or sports-related eye safety, UAB Callahan Eye is here to support parents in nurturing their child's visual health. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Tauscher or any of our pediatric ophthalmologists or optometrists, visit our website at or call 844-UAB-EYES. With multiple UAB Callahan Eye locations across Alabama, expert eye care is always within reach.

About Dr. Rob Tauscher
Rob Tauscher, M.D., is a distinguished ophthalmologist with a rich medical background. He received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine and pursued his ophthalmology residency at Northwestern University. Additionally, he completed his fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus at Duke University. Dr. Tauscher brings a wealth of expertise to our dynamic team, offering comprehensive eye care for pediatric patients from routine exams to complex eye disorders, all the way from birth. His areas of specialization include blocked tear ducts, pediatric cataract and glaucoma surgery, eye muscle disorders in children, and adult strabismus. With a commitment to delivering expert care and vision services, he serves patients at various UAB Callahan Eye locations, including downtown, Children's South, and Pelham clinics.