August is the Children’s eye health and safety month. This month is basically meant to spread awareness about the need to keep children’s eyesight and vision healthy and vivid. Nowadays, many parents have started handing over gadgets to children at the age of 11, 8 or even 5! No matter how easy mobile phones make it for parents to pacify their child, it is important to understand that technology has its pitfalls. Harmful radiations from phones, tablets and laptop screens can cause severe damage to a child’s vision. Many children need eyes glasses way before adults and this must be taken seriously. So on the occasion of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we talk about ways to protect your child’s eyes and how important it is to prevent eye damage during early years of learning.
Some common eye diseases among children are:
1. Amblyopia (lazy eye): In this disease, one eye is weaker than the other. The brain might completely stop comprehending images of the weaker eye. Treatment includes eye patch on the stronger eye, glasses and even surgery.
2. Strabismus (cross eyes): This is a basic condition of squinting of either of the eyes. It can be treated with eyeglasses or surgery.
3. Astigmatism: This occurs due to an irregularity in the shape of the cornea. It leads to blurred vision but can be treated by eyeglasses.
4. Conjunctivitis: Also known as ‘pink eye’, conjunctivitis is the most common eye problem in children. It is a bacterial infection causing redness in the eyes.It also causes discharge of fluid from the eye. It can be treated using eye drops.
1. Encourage outdoor activities
As opposed to the harmful light of smartphones, the natural light outside will not only protect your child’s eye and vision, but it will also make the child adapt to nature and a healthy lifestyle. Staying at home makes your child dull. Your body requires sunlight and natural air for proper growth and respiration. Make your child engage in outdoor activities in order to protect his/her vision.
2. Provide a healthy diet
Proper nutrition is vital for the protection and growth of any body part and eyes are no exception. The daily diet should be filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, fishes, and eggs. Nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids are good for eye health. Make sure your child’s meals are such that they contain all such nutrients. If the child already has a poor vision (by birth or in early years of life), it is also recommended to provide him with eye vitamins.
Regular health and eye check-ups are a necessity in childhood. Medical check-ups in early years of life ensure protection and treatment to underlying problems. Take your child to a doctor monthly or once in two months so that even if a problem of vision or nutrition is found, it can be treated and cured in the early years of the child’s life itself
4. Provide visually stimulating toys
Do not make your child habitual to smartphones as toys. It is important to provide them with the appropriate toys that can help in visual development and enhance motor and eye-hand coordination skills. Some visually stimulating toys include puzzles, modeling clay, building blocks, sketchbooks, finger paints etc.