Vision plays an important role in early childhood learning and development. Kids explore and analyse the world around them through visual observation. They become curious on what they see, read, and watch. They also combine their other skills with their vision helping them gain a better understanding of how things work. Children are deemed visual learners and this only means that they need to have a good and healthy eyesight so that they can maximise all the learning experiences that they encounter each day.
While parents encounter an ever-growing list to ensure there children are developing well, proper eye care for their young ones should be very close to the top. Vision-related problems could develop even at an early age. Here are several ways by which you can better care for your children’s eyes:
1. Introduce your child to a healthy diet
Since most kids tend to favour sweets, as a parent, you need to encourage healthy habits that they can carry on into adulthood. The easiest way is to educate your child about choosing foods that are high in the following vitamins and minerals:
1. Lutein or the “eye vitamin”. Lutein is present in a lot of green, leafy vegetables, eggs, and citrus fruits.
2. Vitamin A, C, and E. This powerful combo is made up of antioxidants that help ward off the risks of macular degeneration, even cataract. These vitamins are found in a lot of fruits and vegetables so stock on more pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, apples, or avocados. There are a lot out there so be sure that your kid’s fruit and vegetable selection are rich and broad.
3. Zinc. This mineral is involved in several metabolic processes and helps the eyes by preventing inflammation in our eye tissues, therefore, promoting proper circulation. High-fibre oatmeal and cereals, as well as different types of nuts and beans, are good sources of zinc.
4. Omega 3-Fatty Acids. These essential “oils” helps fight off the effects of diabetes including diabetic eye disease. Omega 3-fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory agents that is why you should be serving seafood most especially fish, spinach, and beans to your kids.
2. Have your child’s eyes checked
Kids also need to have their regular visit to an eye care professional - be it with an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Make this a part of your child’s regular health check most especially during important milestones such as:
School: There will be a lot of activities that will involve vision like writing, identifying colours, playing, drawing, reading, and a whole lot more; and
Activity: Being active in sports or any extracurricular activities
You also need to schedule an eye check-up for your child if:
He or she complains of any issues with their vision;
He or she reports any recurring headaches; or
If there is any accident that might have hurt or damaged your child’s eyes
The teacher reports any concerns with their vision
You have noticed they avoid reading or stand very close to the TV
In general, it is good practice to schedule an annual family eye check-up.
3. Educate yourself on different vision disorders and major eye problems
The best way to avoid any health-related issues including those of vision is awareness. You have to be ahead in order to know the potential risks of your child developing a vision problem, of detecting symptoms, and knowing when to seek help. Take advantage of the power of the internet by researching on information about eye care, as well as paediatric care in general. You don’t need to be an expert in any topics that you might find as there are eye care professionals who can provide validated and expert advice but knowing a few background information will, of course, be very helpful. You can also subscribe to blogs or follow social media pages that offer content on eye care.
4. Restrict your child’s screen time
Children’s eyes are still too young to endure long screen exposure. Long and uninterrupted use of smart devices mean they are being exposed to blue light and that their eye muscles are being put to a difficult workout. Sometimes, too much screen time can lead to digital eye strain or computer eye syndrome. Other children are even developing myopia which is near-sightedness, all because they have become used to focusing on small screens that are too close to their eyes. Be sure to be on top of your child’s smart device usage, making sure to restrict too much screen time.
5. Have your child wear appropriate clothing accessories.
This refers to sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats when going outdoors on a hot sunny day. You need to protect your child’s eyes just as you would protect his or her skin from the harmful rays of the sun. You have to remember that the sun is the biggest source of blue light which can damage vision. Having the right gear outside to protect their eyes is a must.
6. Encourage open communication between you and your child
Encourage your child to discuss with you whenever he or she thinks that something is wrong with his or her health. Teach your child proper eye care. But on top of that, let him or her know that the best way for you to help is by informing you of any pain or changes in his or her vision right away.
Think this blog might be helpful to a friend? Share it now via social by clicking the buttons below.