As parents, we surely do not want our children to be forced to wear glasses from an early age. Fortunately, there are simple little things that you can do to protect the vision of your little ones.
- Eye examination: Send your kids for an eye examination to detect potential eye problems early and while they are treatable. Your child should be receiving their first comprehensive eye test at 6-months old, an additional eye exam at age 3 and just before they enter primary 1 – around 6 or 7 years of age. An eye examination is recommended every 2 years if your school-aged child need no vision correction. Children who require glasses, however, should be examined yearly or as required by the optometrist or ophthalmologist.
- Feed your children right. Yes, a well-balanced diet that consists of the right minerals, vitamins and proteins seems to play a role in good eye health. Deficiency in vitamin A, for instance, may result in night vision problems. Not only that, it can also cause severe dry eyes, which may possibly lead to eye infections or worse; vision loss. Consume foods such as green, leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, nuts, eggs, beans and citrus fruits such as oranges regularly to maintain good eye health.
- Take a break from electronic devices. Staring at harsh lights from electronic devices such as phone and computer for long periods is damaging to the eyes. This is especially true as kids nowadays are so intrigued to technology that they can stare at it forever! Staring at such devices for long can result in eyestrain, headaches, blurry vision and even dry eyes. Encourage your kid to blink often and look away from the screen after every 20 minutes to rest the eye. Adjust the brightness of the device so that it is not too bright to see.
- Adjust the viewing distance. First of all, ensure the place for reading and watching is properly lit. Discourage your kids from sitting too close to the TV or reading while lying on their back. The reading material should be about 30cm in distance away from the eyes. Glares from electronic screens should be minimized to prevent eye strains. The distance between the monitor screen and your children’s eyes should be within 45cm-71cm and the top of the screen should be at eye level
- Limit the amount of time spent on electronic devices. And, encourage your kids to do a mix of tasks throughout the day. Support your kids to participate in activities that involve postural changes and physical activity such as swimming and playing sports. Limit the time your kids spend on electronic media to less than 2 hours per day.
- Keep your ears out for complaints. If your kid has been complaining about blurred vision or having trouble viewing the blackboard, take him to an optometrist.
All About Vision. Available at www.allaboutvision.com
International Myopia Prevention Association. Available at www.preventmyopia.org
Kids Health. Available at www.kidshealth.org
Mayo Clinic. Available at www.mayoclinic.org
University of Utah Health Care. Available at www.healthcare.utah.edu
WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com