Children’s eye care and vision improvement
Children’s eye care and vision improvement
Eyes are vital organ of vision, which provides us the sense of sight. Sight is the most important sense of all, it allows us to learn more about the surroundings than any of the other senses. Eyes help us see shapes, colours, size, distance and tons of other information about the world around you, eyes are use to perform almost every activity.
Good vision is required to do day-to-day activities smoothly; bad vision affects the health and quality of life. It is also critical in early childhood development. Children’s eyes start developing the moment they begin to focus on the things around them. In today’s world where children are less physically active with even lesser outdoor activities and hunched over screens of TV, Smartphone, Tablets etc, it is an important and a tough task for parents to protect children’s vision while they are at the developing stage.
There are many things you can do to protect your children’s eyesight, and make them healthy right from pregnancy. Read more to know;
There are many health giving vegetarian & non-vegetarian foods that can benefit to your children’s eye health. The following foods are most beneficial for your children’s eye health as well as adults:
Green Vegetables and other vegetables
Green vegetables are very helpful in improving your children’s eyesight. They are the rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium. Especially spinach, broccoli and zucchini are full with many antioxidants, which are very important for eye.
Cabbage is very beneficial in treating any eye disorders. It has more Vitamin C than oranges. It also has Vitamin E, which is good for eyes and overall health.
Yellow vegetables like Carrots & sweet potatoes have a huge amount of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. They very helpful in improving eyesight, health of retina, and protect eyes from the eye damaging sunrays.
Grapes and Blueberries
Grapes and blueberries helps in improving night vision as they contain anthocyanins. Blueberries can also be helpful for tired eyes. They also have flavonoids like resveratrol, rutin, and quercitin, as well as selenium and zinc, which are helpful for good vision.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids containing foods
The Omega-3 fatty acids enhance the brainpower, blood flow and eye functions. The omega-3 fat sources are walnuts, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, seafood, flaxseed oil, fish oil, chia seeds, and soybeans.
Orange or yellow fruits like pumpkin, mango, apricot, and papaya are very rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to improve eyesight and preventing night blindness. Apricots contain beta-carotene, carotenoids and lycopene for good vision and eyesight. Fruits like lemons, oranges, tomatoes, and guava are rich in Vitamin C, which helps in preventing many eye problems. Tomatoes can be very helpful in protecting the eyes from sun damage. Avocado is rich with antioxidants and contains more lutein than any other fruit.
Nuty food like almonds, peanuts, and cashews etc contains vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids but not as much as seafood. Don’t give too much of nuts to children or adults, over eating them will result in less oxygen and thicker blood which can damage the eyesight. Give them in one meal a day in small quantities, preferably breakfast.
Eggs are known to be very beneficial for eyes, egg yolk can prevent many eye diseases. Garlic is very helpful in protecting the eyes against cataract and other eye diseases. Dark chocolates consist of flavonoids, which protect the eye’s blood vessels.
Keep your children’s eyes safe from the sun; the Ultra Violet radiation is very harmful for children. Unlike adults, infants and children lack pigment in the lens of the eye, which helps the ultraviolet rays to penetrate and reach their retina. Thus, they are more prone to the damage in sunlight then adults. When you go outside; use sunglasses, cap or umbrella to protect their eyes from the sun.
Before buying sunglasses for children, see that the material of the lenses is polycarbonate, which is UV protective, impact-resistant, lightweight and ideal for children. Frame of sunglasses should be made of plastic material; plastic is safer for children.
Avoid applying cosmetics
Avoid applying cosmetic products like eyeliner, kajal or surma. Children’s eyes are very sensitive and such cosmetic products contain harmful chemicals, which can affect the eyes and even brain badly.
Activities that helps improve vision:
Crawling is a good exercise for eyes and it develops hand-to-eye coordination, so encourage your children to crawl after they are 7months old. Call your children from different places and let their eyes follow you, they will learn to focus and aim sooner with this activity. Get the children out of the house, preferably a garden. Research has proved that more time spent out of doors in green environment in early childhood may reduce the chances of becoming nearsighted later in life.
Encourage physical exercise; it is one of the best ways for keeping the eyes healthy. It also stops your children from being overweight, as weight problems can have some dangerous effects on eyesight. Other activities that help improves the vision are as below.
- Practice throwing and catching a ball or Frisbee.
- Read aloud to your children and let them see what you are reading. They will try to focus on the part you are reading and it will be a good exercise for their eyes.
- Provide a chalkboard and let them do the rough sketches.
- Play age appropriate memory games; always check age criteria on the box before buying.
- Outdoor play should also include, bike or tricycle riding, and swinging activities.
- Give them a task to identify the objects that are far, it will improve their aim and far sight.
- Avoid watching fast moving objects, such as speed car race or cartoons where things are happening very fast.
Children can damage their eyes while playing with toys. Always give your children toys that don’t have sharp edges. Give your children toys to observe, but see that they don’t hold their toys too close to their eyes, at least 8 to 12 inches away so they can focus without stress in the eyes. Many toys in market encourage visual development, they can improve eye to hand coordination and motor skills. Toys like,
- Modelling clay. (Age: 18 months and later)
- Puzzles. (Age: 12 months and later)
- Building blocks. (Introduce them at 6th month, they will become an expert by the time they are 18 months old)
- Drawing tools and colours. (Introduce between 12 to 18 months)
- Pegboards etc. (Age: 18 months and later)
Reading & Screentime.
When your children are reading, don’t allow them to lie on the floor and read, also see that the room has good amount of light.
Don’t allow your children with any amount of screentime before the age of 2. After the age of 2, the screentime should not more than 2 hours/day. If it is more than that, your children will start having symptoms like dry eyes and strained vision. It is very harmful for children’s developing eyesight, and has long-term effects on eye’s health.
While using a computer or watching TV, make sure the room has good lighting and that your child takes a break every few minutes and looks around the room. Also, see that the screen is at eye level of slightly below and at appropriate distance, not too far or not too close. Keep reminding your children to blink their eye at normal pace. Sometimes children are so engrossed in the TV that they forget to blink and it can be very harmful.
Make them rest their eye after a prolonged screentime, go outside for a walk with them or play games, which require them to close their eyes. For example, ask your children to observe the room for few minutes and then close their eyes and say what things they saw. Reward them for contributing.
When to get the eyes checked?
Take your children for a detailed examination by an ophthalmologist between 6 to 12 months and another after the age of 3. Children who wear prescription glasses should have annual checkups by an eye doctor. Also, get them checked for the diseases that cause eye problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The children’s brain learns how to see in the developing age, but if children’s vision problem goes undiagnosed and untreated, it is more likely that the brain learn, accept and accommodate the vision problem, sometimes even the chances of treatments are vanished.
Signs to indicate Eye and Vision problems in your children.
Parents should watch for below signs to know if their children are suffering from a vision problem:
- Sitting close to the TV
- Holding a book too close to be able to read and write.
- Poor performance in school.
- Tilting their head to see something.
- Headaches or eyepain.
- Often rubbing their eyes.
- Short attention span.
- Drooping eyelids or closing of one eyelid more than the other.
- Lazy eye.
- Very sensitivity to light.
- Trouble having eye-to-hand and eye-to-body coordination.
What to do in emergencies?
Get your children eyes examined regularly, keep observing your children’s eyes from time to time if you see they are crossed, turned out, haziness or clouding in pupil, constant pain, complains of blurry or double vision seek medical help or if a blunt object hits their eyes, examine them. If you see bleeding or wound, call a doctor ASAP. In the meantime, cover their eyes with a cold pack for 15 minutes/hour.
If your children spill something acidic, poisonous or whether it is something unknown, flush their eyes with water and immediately call for medical help. Don’t stop flushing until medical help arrives. If their eyes are injured with a sharp object, don’t press, touch or try to remove the sharp object (if it is still inside). Just cut the bottom of a paper/foam cup and shield their eye with it in such a way that nothing touches the eye, and immediately call for Eye surgeon. In the case of any eye injury, please take your children to an eye surgeon. Only an eye surgeon can treat your children in such situations, identify a good eye surgeon in your neighbourhood and save them in your phone contacts. Do not try to treat even the small eyes problems on your own, any type of eye drop is not advisable to use after 1 month of opening the bottle. Always consult a doctor before using them.
Children are constantly growing, changing, and evolving. Their eyesight is the most important part of their growth. Teaching them to maintain vision at every age is also important, because the innocence in a child’s eyes is beautiful and precious, we have to be careful to look after them.
Children’s eyes are the windows of their soul, take care of them. Therefore, if their eyes are healthy, their body and soul will be full of light.