As kids grow, their eyes tend to change fast. Proper attention to the eye health of a child is imperative to identify problems early, while their eyes are still developing. In the opinion of Zuhal Butuner, children with uncorrected vision problems are more likely to experience headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Hence, parents and guardians need to be proactive in taking care of their child’s eye health.
Zuhal Butuner marks a few tips parents must follow to take care of their childrens eye health
The eyesight and visual development of a child undergo several changes since their birth. Parents and paediatricians should typically monitor the important visual milestones as they grow from infant to school age. Here are a few ways parents can play an active role in taking care of the eye health of their child:
- Schedule regular eye exams: Parents should ideally bring their child for an eye exam from as early as six months of age. During an infant’s eye exam, doctors generally start by tracking the vision development of the baby, so as to detect any ocular or vision anomalies early on. If a problem is identified, appropriate treatment at this stage can help in halting the progression of the disorder, and ensure the optimal results. The eye exams must stay consistent as a child grows older. A second eye exam must be done when they turn three years old, and a third exam before they begin grade school.
- Boost visual engagement: By using high-contrast patterns and colors in décor and toys, parents can engage their child visually as a newborn and toddler. Parents must provide young kids with enough time to focus on things around them when in new environments, and approach objects from all angles. This can help the child to get comfortable with a wider field of vision.
- Provide a balanced diet: Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, as well as vitamins A, C and E can be beneficial to eye health. Hence, parents should try to make sure that their kids get to eat nutritious and balanced meals daily. Fruits like oranges, strawberries and mangos feature vitamins C and E, while omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish. Leafy greens like spinach and kale additionally contain Vitamin A.
- Limit the use of digital screens: Digital learning has become very common today. Computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones are present in the lives of young kids more than ever. In this situation, being stringent about setting limits on digital screen usage is extremely important. Kids must be told to keep screens 18 to 24 inches from their eyes. Parents should also encourage kids to follow the 20-20-20 rule, which is to look up from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
As per Zuhal Butuner, in addition to following the tips discussed above, parents must also look out for warning signs of eye issues in their kids. It is better to take kids to an eye doctor if they show disinterest in distant objects, squint or rub their eyes too often, hold objects very close to the eyes, or have sensitivity to light.