As a parent, you want to ensure that your child lives their youthful years happily and healthily. You want them to feel and be aware of everything going on around them, and use all their senses to play and have fun outdoors.
One way to help enhance their youthful experiences is caring for their eye health. Having a healthy pair of eyes will allow them to see things clearly and, at the same time, minimize their chances of developing eye problems at a young age, like optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH) and more.
Through healthy eye habits and a few lifestyle changes, you can promote your child’s eye health and ensure they have a healthy and clearly vision for a lifetime. That said, here are eight ways you can care for your child’s eye health:
1. Provide Them With A Healthy Diet
Caring for your child’s eye health starts with how you nourish them from within. Feeding them healthy and nutritious food will boost their overall health, especially their eyes. Foods like salmon and tuna are good sources of omega-3, which is essential to keeping their eyes functional and safe from potential cataracts.
Furthermore, yellow fruits and green veggies are also good sources of Vitamin A, which prevents night blindness and dry eyes. Lastly, providing them with a healthy diet can also reduce their risk of hypertension and obesity, which are linked to eye problems.
2. Schedule Regular Eye Checkups
Your best partner in preserving your child’s eye health is the eye doctor or the optometrist. Thus, make sure you schedule regular eye checkups for your child, starting from infancy. This way, the eye doctor can keep track of your child’s eye development and see if there are potential eye problems on the way.
You can consult an eye doctor from eSight or other eye clinics to help keep your child’s eyes in their best condition. The earlier a vision problem is found, the quicker the treatment shall be applied, and this ensures that their eye health is restored successfully.
3. Protect Them From The Sun
Children love the outdoors, especially when the sun’s up and the weather is hot and fine. While it’s great they’re being active outdoors, make sure you also take precautionary steps to protect their eyes from the sun.
For example, let your child wear sunglasses and hats to shield their eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays. For smaller children, hats and umbrellas will do to prevent them from accidentally poking their eyes with the sunglasses. Furthermore, remind them never to look directly at the sun, with or without their sunglasses.
4. Keep Them Hydrated
Hydration is crucial for your child’s eye health. The water from their bodies will keep their eyes clean and moist. Thus, encourage your child to drink at least five glasses of water every day or more, depending on the climate conditions, age, and level of activities.
5. Limit Screen Time
Nowadays, children are getting more accustomed to using gadgets at a young age. While using gadgets is necessary for school purposes, too much screen time could deteriorate their eye health and lead to eye problems in the future. Thus, it’s up to you to monitor your child’s screen time. Preferably, kids under five years old should only use their screens for 30 minutes or less. Meanwhile, older kids can use their screens for a maximum of one hour.
Furthermore, don’t let your kids use their screens at night, especially before bedtime, as this could disrupt their body’s sleep-wake cycle and make it harder for them to get some sleep. As much as possible, encourage your child to spend more time outdoors to reduce their time from using their screens.
6. Discourage Eye Rubbing
Most kids tend to rub their eyes whenever these feel itchy or they feel like something has gotten into their eyes. However, eye rubbing can damage the eye tissues, or, worse, the germs from their hands could quickly transfer into their eyes and cause problems, like conjunctivitis. Thus, always remind them never to rub their eyes, even if they’re itchy. Instead, encourage them to approach you whenever they feel eye irritation or a foreign object has gotten into their eyes.
7. Use Eye Protection
If your child loves to play sports or other strenuous physical games, keep their eyes protected by making them wear eye protection. This will shield their eyes from potential injuries and avoid sunburns to their retinas. On the other hand, make sure they wear swimming goggles every time they go for a swim or play in the water to prevent the water from splashing into their eyes, which could cause irritation.
8. Let Their Eyes Rest
Like any other part of the body, their eyes will also need some rest after being used for a long time, especially when they’re reading or playing on the computer. It’s recommended to let their eyes rest and have a break for 30 to 40 minutes before they resume any screen-related activity. Allowing their eyes to relax and take a break will reduce eye strain, potentially leading to more severe eye problems later on.
Your child’s eye health is just as essential as the rest of their body. Through these tips, along with their eye doctor’s help, you can keep your child’s eyes protected and ensure they maintain a clear and healthy vision for the rest of their lives.