Eyesight is one of the most important senses since the majority of information humans perceive is through vision. Routine eye care and regular eye examinations are the best ways to identify and prevent many of the pediatric eye problems.
If your child has difficulties with vision or irritation of eyes, then contact your healthcare provider promptly.
Read this article to learn more about the various eye care tips to enhance your child’s eye health and prevent early onset or progression of eye diseases.
How To Improve Eyesight In Kids?
As kids may not be aware of how to protect their eyes from injuries and vision loss, you may teach them ways to prevent eye injuries and infections. You may also screen your child for vision problems and take the necessary steps to protect and improve eyesight.
Protecting your child’s eyesight begins in pregnancy. Prenatal smoking could damage unborn babies’ eyes, so you may start to care for your little ones’ eyes even before they are born (1). Ensure smoking cessation and good prenatal care to avoid eye problems before and at the time of birth.
There are various simple eye-care tips to improve your kids’ eyesight. These tips may also help prevent eye damage in children.
Eye Care Tips For Kids
1. Healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for a child’s vision, as well as other functions and growth (2). You may encourage them to consume healthy foods, including fresh vegetables, eggs, fish, meat, and fruits. Green leafy vegetables and yellow vegetables are good sources of vitamin A, an essential nutrient for ocular health.
You may encourage your kid to eat fresh homemade foods rather than processed foods and junk foods. Follow a mixed diet to ensure they receive all vitamins and minerals. You may prepare tasty and healthy homemade snacks that appeal to your child.
2. Drink plenty of water
An adequate amount of hydration is needed for eye health. You may encourage your child to drink a minimum of four full glasses of water daily. The adequate amount may change depending on the age of your child, activities, and climatic conditions. Water is required for the cleaning process of the eye.
3. Get good sleep
An adequate amount of sleep is required for good eye health (3). A good night’s sleep helps rejuvenate the body and relaxes the eyes. You may encourage your kid to fall into a regular sleeping routine to promote ocular health.
4. Ensure accurate use of contact lenses and eyeglasses
Children may not be cautious with contact lenses or eyeglasses. You may encourage and teach them the proper ways to wear it. Tell them not to remove it while they are reading.
You may also ask them to remove glasses before playing games since broken glasses may cause injuries. Always buy eyeglasses according to an ophthalmologist’s prescription and check the vision and change glasses at the recommended time.
5. Limit screen time
Children tend to use smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and computers as much as possible. Using these devices for extended periods may strain the eyes.
Screen time should be less than an hour for kids younger than five years. Older kids should have only an hour of screen time in a day (4). Minimal screen time can help ensure the child’s sleep and physical activity are not affected. Screen time should not be before bed, and you should avoid showing a video screen for a long time to kids younger than 18 months (3).
You may encourage them to indulge in other activities and outdoor games. If your kid has to use the screen for a long time, teach them the 20-20-20 rule, which is to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes (3). This healthy tip may ensure good eyesight.
6. Encourage outdoor activities
The onset and progression of myopia (short-sightedness) in kids can be prevented by spending more time outdoors (5). You may encourage children to play outside rather than indoor games or video games. Outdoor activities can be physically beneficial to children.
7. Discourage eye rubbing
Children tend to rub their eyes, especially if they have eye irritation or some foreign bodies in the eye. Rubbing may damage the eyes, and often, germs from hands can pass into the eyes and cause conditions such as conjunctivitis.
You may tell a child to wash their eyes with cold water to relieve irritation instead of rubbing. Parents should also teach children proper hand-hygiene techniques.
8. Eye protection
Children are at high risk for eye injuries while playing games and sports. You may ensure their eyes are well protected from the sun and other injuries during their activities. Let the wear UV filter sunglasses (making sure they’re certified) and not look directly at the sun to avoid burns to the retina.
You may tell them the importance of wearing helmets and sports goggles to prevent physical injuries and avoid UV radiation. Ensure that your kid is using swimming goggles while playing in water.
Sports eye protectors should be used while playing baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, etc. Approximately 90% of eye injuries in children can be prevented with protective goggles (1).
9. Use safe toys
Younger children have a higher risk of eye injuries from toys. You may choose safe toys for them, especially for toddlers. Avoid rough and sharp toys since they may cause accidental eye injuries.
Check the age specified by the manufacturer on the toy’s packaging. Using age-appropriate toys could help avoid eye injuries from toys.
10. Regular eye checkups
Regular eye checkups may help determine eyesight problems in kids. Early diagnosis and interventions could help protect vision in most cases.
Using eyeglasses and updating the power of the lens at the recommended intervals is also essential. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends regular vision screening for children with chronic illnesses and positive family history of pediatric eye diseases (3).
Eye care for children involves several simple steps related to good personal hygiene, eye safety, and routine eye care. Proper hand washing could reduce the risk of many infectious diseases, including conjunctivitis. You may teach appropriate hand washing methods from an early age. Children should also be vaccinated against measles since this may increase the risk of vision loss and blindness.
It is recommended to keep household cleaners and other chemicals away from kids’ reach to avoid accidental exposure since these products may cause eye damage. Routine eye care and regular eye checkups may help delay the onset or progression of many pediatric eye diseases in high-risk groups.
2. 7 Eye Care Tips for Your Kid; Disha Eye Hospital
3. Healthy Vision: 4. 5 Tips For Children’s Eye Health; Coachart
4. Where We Stand: Screen Time; American Academy of Pediatrics
5. Six ways to keep children’s eyes healthy; Vision matters
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