As a parent, you want to ensure your children are as healthy as they can be, but eye health may not be the first thing on your list. Being aware of potential conditions that could affect your children’s eyes and taking precautionary measures to prevent or treat them can help you protect your children from injuries and keep them generally healthy. Listed below are a few things to consider when caring for your children’s eye health.
While it’s a common belief that consuming carrots will improve your vision, the truth is that the key to healthy eyes is a little more simple and attainable. A healthy, balanced diet will provide your body with the proper nutrients to maintain its health; things like vitamin E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein have been connected to eye health, so promoting a diverse diet will help attain good nutrients for you and your children in general, which is the best way to protect your eyes.
Because of the prevalence of smart devices and computers, especially for recreational use, eye strain and other conditions resulting from too much screen time are increasingly common. Children may develop computer vision syndrome (CVS) which can result in tired or dry eyes, vision problems, and discomfort.
Technology has become a functional part of the modern age and is used for fun and education alike, so it is unlikely that eliminating use entirely will be an option. In order to combat injuries caused by strain and exposure to excess blue light that is emitted from digital screens, encouraging breaks from screen time can help alleviate discomfort and fatigue; promoting the exercise of looking at something farther away than the digital screen for a period of time during these breaks can also help relax eye muscles and prevent myopia progression.
Thousands of eye injuries occur each year due to sports-related incidents, and it’s estimated that around 90% of these injuries could be preventable. For activities like contact sports, making sure your child wears the appropriate gear (such as helmets or masks) will help prevent any serious eye injuries from occurring. Children who wear glasses regularly should wear sports glasses which are designed to be more secure and resilient, and for other activities that might involve powerful equipment or a potential hazard, they should wear safety goggles over their glasses.
Avoiding UV light by wearing sunglasses will also limit the damage caused by sunlight, and children who go swimming, especially young children or those wearing contacts, should use watertight goggles to prevent infection. Taking precautionary measures and informing your children of the importance of protection will help reduce the risk of eye injury.
Pay attention to your children’s eyes. If you notice anything abnormal like haziness around the pupil or crossed eyes, you should schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. These could be indicators of serious conditions like nystagmus or cataracts respectively. Being proactive and taking note of any physical abnormalities in your children’s eyes will help ensure that you are able to get an early diagnosis and take actions for treatment if necessary. A change in the eye may not always signify something is wrong, but it is better to get the opinion of a specialist to be certain.
Scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams will help guarantee any changes in your children’s eyes don’t go unnoticed. There are also a few ways you can test your vision at home, but this is a supplemental measure, not to be used as a replacement for the official eye exams which involve assessment of the eye itself rather than just vision. Muscle strength, color vision, and glaucoma screening are all potential components of a thorough eye exam, and because most of these cannot be properly completed at home, you should schedule professional eye exams when your children are between the ages of 3 and 5, and fairly regularly throughout their school years. It is advisable to take the advice of your doctor regarding the frequency of eye exams for your children.
Accidents happen, but preventative measures exist to limit the risk of eye injury. Make sure you care for their eyes when they are young to prevent any future issues, as well as to treat any existing conditions before they worsen. Being proactive and considering the items on the list above will help you protect your children from eye injuries and keep them both healthy and whole.