Healthy eyes and good eyesight improve a person’s quality of life. The best time to ensure a lifetime of healthy vision is when a person is young. You can start with 10 eye care tips for children to protect your child’s eyes.
1. Prioritize vision exams.
Children need routine vision exams to detect eye problems in their earliest stages. Early detection will help your eye professional determine if your child has issues like myopia and needs corrective eye wear or other vision problems.
Newborns should be screened for vision problems. Your child should be screened during his routine well-child examinations, and before he starts school. If he does not have vision problems, he should continue to have examinations at least once per year.
2. Stress proper use and care of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
If your child wears glasses or contact lenses, they should be worn according to the doctor’s instructions. Your youngster must never lend his eye wear to another child, nor try on anyone else’s eye wear.
Teach your child how to keep his contacts or glasses clean. Make sure he does not wear them during the night or during naps. When he is not wearing his contacts or glasses, his eye wear should be safely stored in an appropriate case or container.
3. A healthy diet contributes to healthy eyes.
Encourage your youngster to eat a balanced diet every day. Not only does his body need vitamins and minerals, so do his eyes.
You may have heard carrots are good for eyesight, but so are dark green leafy vegetables, oily fish, protein, and citrus products. Include plenty of beta-carotene, other forms of Vitamin A, and zinc in his daily diet.
4. Avoid cigarette smoke.
There are many reasons your children should avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, and one example is healthy eyes.
Exposure to smoke can result in dry eyes. This can be more than uncomfortable to the youngster. When he experiences discomfort from dry eyes, he may be tempted to rub his eyes. This can increase his risk of developing an eye infection.
Dry eyes during childhood can also increase his risk of serious eye conditions when he is older. You can reduce his risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other issues by not exposing him to cigarette smoke.
5. Choose protective eye wear for active children.
Children who play sports should always use protective eye wear. However, it is not limited to contact sports and team sports. Children also risk eye injuries when they ride bicycles, run, and swim. From chlorine in swimming pools to falls that can occur while riding a bike, equip each of your children with protection, and teach them to use it regularly.
6. Protect your youngster’s vision outdoors.
Whenever children play outdoors, their eyes need to be protected from the sunlight. Purchase sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. Encourage the children to wear wide-brimmed hats for further protection.
Teach the youngsters from their earliest years to never gaze at the sun, and to not look directly at it.
7. Children should never rub their eyes.
Youngsters often rub their eyes, even when their eyes are not dry. Even boredom can cause children to develop this habit.
Teach him to avoid rubbing. If a speck of dust or other foreign material is in his eye, rubbing can scratch the eyeball, and may lead to an eye infection. Teach your youngster to approach you or another trustworthy adult so you can safely wash foreign material out of his eye.
8. Encourage safe habits for healthy eyes.
There is much children can do in their daily lives to protect their eyes and eyesight. One example is to make healthy exercise a part of their lives. Regular physical activity can reduce his risk of numerous eye diseases, as well as other medical conditions that can affect his eyes.
A second example is reducing eye strain. When he reads, watches television, or uses his computer or other electronic device, the book or device should be at an appropriate distance. There should be adequate lighting in the room so he does not have to strain his eyes.
Posture can reduce eye strain, too. Instead of lying on the floor or slumping in a chair, teach him to sit upright.
He can also reduce strain on his eyes by taking frequent breaks. Whenever he is using an electronic device, encourage breaks every 20 minutes.
9. Stress the importance of proper hygiene.
When active children forget to wash their hands and faces, harmful bacteria can end up in their eyes. Boys and girls alike may need to be reminded to keep their hands and faces clean. Teach them how to wash appropriately, and to do it regularly. Purchase facial products that do not irritate the eyes.
Proper hygiene for girls extends to cosmetics. If your teen or preteen enjoys eye shadows, mascara, or other cosmetics, teach her how to use them safely and correctly. Let her know she must never lend or borrow cosmetics. Cosmetics and applicators must be kept clean, and replaced on a regular basis. Most experts advise cosmetics and applicators should be disposed of and replaced at least every six months. If your daughter uses old products, bacteria can harm her eyes.
You also want to make sure your glasses are always clean as well.
10. Stay alert to the possibility of eye problems.
Even with routine vision exams, eye issues may occur. If you notice your youngster straining to see, rubbing his eyes frequently, blinking, or tilting his head when he reads or uses electronic devices, an issue may have developed. Make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. He may have a habit that should be addressed, or an eye issue that needs to be corrected.
These 10 eye care tips for children can help all the youngsters in your family have healthy eyes and vision. When they learn these tips early in life, they can develop healthy habits that they will follow throughout their lives. Whether your child is a teenager, an elementary-school child, or an infant, it is never too soon to protect his eyes.