We talked to Dr. Dan, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Lyons Family Eye Care, and he shared with us a few insights into taking care of your children’s eyes, which we’re going to share with you in a bit.
Dr. Dan made it clear that healthy eyes are crucial for the general health of kids. He informed us that by the time kids start kindergarten, they should have had their first vision screening. The screening involves checking that the eyes are straight, working in unison/together, and that they’re healthy overall.
If your child has vision issues that affect their daily activities such as reading or sports, they may be given a set of glasses. And if they spend lots of time outdoors, they may be given tinted glasses or sunglasses to protect their eyes from the intense light.
Eye exams are crucial, but what about when you’re at home? How can you ensure that your kid’s vision stays healthy and protected? Here are a few tactics you might find useful.
Top 5 Take Care Tips Of Your Children’s Eyes
1. Discourage them from rubbing their eye
Kids are playful in nature, and they love touching many things, including dirty stuff. That means they come into contact with germs very often.
Something else they love is to rub their eyes with their fingers. Now that is one of the issues that causes many kids to develop eye problems. Germs spread from their hands to their eyes and cause infections.
One particular infection they get from rubbing their eyes is conjunctivitis. Since the infection causes irritation and itching, your child mild rub your eyes, making the problem even worse.
To prevent these issues, discourage your kids from rubbing their eyes. Conversely, encourage them to wash their hands on a regular basis.
2. Teach them how to watch TV correctly
There are two ways in which kids can watch TV badly. One is by watching from a close range and the other is by binge-watching or watching for prolonged durations.
For safety’s sake, make sure there’s a distance of at three and a half meters or 11.5 feet between the TV and the spot they’re watching from. Moreover, the idea of watching in a dark or dimly lit room isn’t good; the room needs to have some good lighting so as to reduce strain on the eyes in trying to focus on just one spot.
Staring at the TV for a long time is one of the top causes of dry eyes, which in turn leads to inflammation and infections.
Thus, minimize TV time. And it’s not just TV; we’re talking all forms of digital screens, including phones, tablets, and PCs.
Also Know: What Is Hazel Eye
3. Put away unsafe toys
Bad toys are one of the biggest risks to your children’s eyes. Being bad in this case means having exposed sharp parts or jagged edges that can injure them.
If your kids have to use toys like plastic swords that are not safe for their eyes, try supervising them.
Another strategy would be to take your kids through safety precautions.
4. Give them a balanced diet
A balanced diet is one that consists of all the major nutrients including proteins, vitamins, healthy fats, and controlled amounts of carbs.
Some of the items you can put on their menu include soybeans, fruits, leafy veggies, pumpkins, watermelons, oily fish like tuna and salmon, and avocadoes.
Don’t forget carrots, which contain carotene, which is used for the manufacture of vitamin A in the body. Keep in mind that vitamin A is essential for a good eyesight especially at night.
5. Discourage them from playing video games for long periods
We could just have placed this point under the one about watching TV correctly. So why did we write it separately?
Because video games are another leading cause of eye problems in kids. By over-indulging in gaming, kids experience strain, haziness, and dryness of the eyes, coupled with headaches.
Video games don’t just cause eye problems. If your child uses all their free time to play video games, failing to engage in physical activity like running, swimming, dancing or football, they’re compromising their overall health. Issues like obesity and heart diseases come into the picture.
To avoid all that, make sure your child plays video games only for a limited time.
Here are a few more protection options you might want to consider:
- Keep an eye on them during those firework festivals – the sparks from fireworks can damage your kids’ eyes. Thus, when they’re going off, make sure your kids are at a safe distance from them.
- Swimming with googles – this is especially important when they’re swimming in public swimming pools. Remember, chemicals are used to treat these pools, and these chemicals aren’t very friendly to the eyes.
- Keep sprays and other hazardous chemicals out of their reach.
Do toys affect children’s vision?
Toys are good for children’s development. What is bad is toys with sharp parts or jagged edges that are exposed, as these can prick their eyes and damage them.
Does your child need an eye care expert?
Wondering when or even whether your child needs to see an eyecare provider?
Well, Professor Repka of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says that if your child is getting regular overall health checkups by a pediatrician, that may be all they need.
But he goes on to say that if your family has a history of vision issues, or if your child is experiencing symptoms of eye problems, then they’ve got to have an eye exam officially.
If you’re looking to have your child’s vision developing well, and to have any issues that might be cropping up detected in time, have their vision checked:
- At 6 months.
- At three years.
- Just before joining first grade (or at 6 to 7 years).
What impact does TV have on my child’s vision?
When people are watching TV, they blink less frequently than normal. That causes eye irritation and dryness, and the bright light from the screen can damage the retina.
Discourage your kids from watching TV for long hours and teach them about the 20-20 rule.
What is the 20-20 rule?
Image Source: www.aoa.org
The 20-20 rule is critical when staring at digital screens for long periods. It goes this way – after every 20 minutes of staring at a digital screen, you should look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Some people say you should also close your eyes for 20 seconds.
Which foods should I give to my children to improve their vision?
A well balanced diet is paramount for the overall health of your children. The diet should include proteins, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of carbs.
Some of the foods to think about include eggs, beans, nuts, spinach, kale, oranges, mangoes, salmon, tuna, pork, oatmeal, and milk. Carrots and foods rich in vitamin A are crucial as they help boost their vision.
What are the signs of possible vision issues?
The detection of possible vision problems is one of the reasons why a vision check-up is paramount. Your child might be having vision issues if they:
- Find it difficult to pay attention.
- Are having trouble seeing what is written on the chalk board.
- Are performing poorly in school.
- Have difficulty writing and reading.
- Are experiencing blurred or double vision.
- Often don’t want to go to school.
- Take longer than other kids to complete their homework.
- Often have eye pain or headaches.
What specialists can provide vision care to my child?
There are three options:
- Optician – this one is the lowest in the chain. Opticians are trained to prescribe and dispense contact lenses and glasses. They can detect eye problems but do not treat them.
- An optometrist – a doctor who checks eyes for vision diseases and treats them. They can also prescribe lenses but cannot handle complex ailments or perform surgery. For complex ailments and surgery, you’ll need an ophthalmologist.
- An ophthalmologist – this is a medical specialist who treats disorders and illnesses of the eye. They can diagnose and treat a wide range of eye issues, prescribe lenses, and even perform surgery.
One thing about kids is that they’re inexperienced. They don’t know the dangers that come with things like fireworks, prolonged TV time, and so on. On the brighter side, kids are also very easy to train, and taught with love and compassion, they listen and heed.
Talk to your kids about the importance of their eyes’ health and show them how to take care of their eyes. That way, you’ll be keeping their vision safe even when they’re away.