There are some eye conditions and vision problems that can develop during childhood, such as sore eyes, allergies, and lazy eye. Here are some child eye care tips that every parent should know:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy
During pregnancy, a mother’s healthy lifestyle and eating habits can help with the development of their baby’s eyes. Similarly, the mother’s diet and lifestyle while breastfeeding will also have an impact on the child’s eye health.
Provide a healthy diet
Give your child meals that are rich in nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins C and E. These can help improve and maintain their eyesight. You can get these nutrients from fruits and vegetables like carrots, kale, avocado, spinach, egg yolks, kiwi, grapes, and orange.
Spend more time outdoors
According to studies, being outdoors more often can effectively prevent the occurrence of onset myopia (nearsightedness). Adding more outdoor activities like walking or biking to your child’s daily routine can help keep your child’s vision at its best.
Provide sun protection
Buy good quality sunglasses, hats, visors, and any other sun protection gear. These will shield your child’s eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. Children are most vulnerable to the cumulative effects overexposure to the sun. These effects can result in developmental eye problems like cataracts and eye cancer in the future.
Rest the eyes
One of the most important child eye care tips is making sure that your children rest their eyes. It is advisable that children take breaks after 40 minutes of writing, reading, and being in front of screens.
Also, parents should limit their children’s use of mobile phones, tablets, computers, and television, since the screens emit blue light that may result in retinal damage. To alleviate the negative effects of screen time on your children, follow The American Optometric Association’s 20-20-20 rule: take a break from the screen every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Screen time, as per WHO, should be no more than 1 hour per day for children ages 3 to 4 years old.
Younger children and infants should avoid the use of any digital entertainment media since they need to be interacting with people (rather than screens) to aid their growth and development.
Practice healthy eye care habits
Here are other healthy eye care tips you and your child can follow:
- Encourage your kid to read under proper lighting, as poor lighting can lead to weakness in vision over time.
- When reading, your child’s eyes must be 15 inches away from the book, and 20 to 40 inches away from the screen.
- Give your child age-appropriate toys with no sharp edges that might poke their eyes.
- Provide your child with the right protective eye gear when playing sports, watching fireworks, and other activities that might injure their eyes.
- Give your child toys and games that can help stimulate their vision.
- Have regular eye check-ups to see how your child’s vision develops throughout the years and to detect early signs of eye problems.
- Your child should get the recommended amount of sleep to avoid eye strain (12-16 hours and 10-14 hours a day, including naps, for infants and children ages 1 to 5, respectively).
Signs and symptoms of vision problem
Children are more susceptible to eye problems since their eyes are still developing. Knowing the early signs of vision problems is key to taking care of your child’s eyesight.
The warning signs of vision problems include:
- Frequent rubbing of eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Poor eye tracking skills or trouble visually following objects
- Severe redness of the eyes with or without pain
- Excessive tear production
- Misalignment of the eyes
- Rapid, uncontrolled eye movement
- Inability to focus on near or far objects
- Headaches when reading or when in front of the screen
- White glow in the pupils
If your child has one or more of these symptoms, consult an ophthalmologist.
Eye problems can give anyone a tough time. However, you can protect your child from future vision complications if you encourage proper eye care during childhood. As a parent, following the child eye care tips mentioned in this article can greatly improve and maintain your child’s eye health.
Learn more about Child Eyecare, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.