Eye Care for Kids: How to Ensure Your Child’s Eyes Stay Healthy and Strong
People assume it is enough to start caring for their health after touching the 30-year threshold. However, caring for your health from a very young age is imperative. It is never too early to start with eye care, especially if you have a family history of eye problems. Even without the history, given the digital learning environment and the style of entertainment options for kids, vision care has become imperative from a very young age.
It is not easy for a young child to understand what’s good for his eyes and what’s not, and thus, as parents, we can/should ensure their eyes stay stronger and healthier by altering their lifestyle.
Kids tend to prefer eye-catching junk foods they see on TV or those their friends claim to be the best. There is nothing wrong with satisfying food cravings occasionally, but make sure your kid intakes adequate zinc, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, lutein, and others. Some lesser-known nutrients for your eye health are zeaxanthin, flavonoids, GLA, and others.
Most parents think vitamin/mineral supplements would be an excellent alternative to dealing with a fuzzy eater. When there is an acute nutrient deficiency, it is advisable to talk to an eye doctor or paediatrician to get the right supplements. However, in any other case, choosing the natural product over the capsules is best. For instance, vitamin A supplements can be good for eye care. But, you can quickly receive adequate vitamin A by adding yellow and orange fruits/vegetables, dairy, liver, spinach, and others to the diet.
Why is it best to go for natural sources rather than capsules? The first reason is the presence of preservatives, additives, and other chemicals in the tablet. The second is cultivating good habits rather than teaching them to pop a pill for everything.
Most kids prefer sugary drinks over water, and they forget to drink water when they are actively playing or watching TV. In addition, parents often misread signs of dehydration as generic tiredness. Most eye care websites recommend drinking 6-8 glasses of water. However, it is just a misconception as the amount of water required changes based on climatic conditions, lifestyle, and food habits. Inadequate hydration leads to eye dryness and increases the risk of eye infection, irritation, and other problems.
There are numerous reasons why giving carbonated drinks as a water substitute is terrible. Beyond eye health, carbonated beverages are harmful in several ways. How about fresh fruit juices made at home? They are an excellent supplement but not an alternative to water.
The first reason is the sugar content in the juice. You are preparing it at home with zero preservatives and colours, but you would be adding sugar. Sugar does not immediately affect eye health, but studies have proven that drinking fruit juice instead of actual fruit increases the chance of insulin resistance by 8%, and diabetes can cause eye damage.
Freshly squeezed or blended juice from the mixer is less healthy than the natural fruit. Most nutrients are removed as pulp when your strain the liquid or are lost in the heat generated by the blender. You would be left with trace amounts of vitamins/minerals.
Light Up the Room
The current interior décor involves using a false ceiling to add moody lights to improve the sublime look of the home. Yes, it gives a resort-styled look, but it is unfitting for eye health.
Most children end up with eyeglasses because of insufficient light. Make sure that your kid’s room has adequate light. If not possible, add a table lamp to the study desk. Ensure the kid sits facing the light source so that his shadow does not interrupt his vision.
Warm lights are suitable for the eyes, and you can get such lighting from natural light, incandescent bulbs and LED bulbs. Florescent tubes and prolonged natural light can produce UV light which is not good for the eyes. Smartphones, TV, computers, and others generate blue light, which is terrible for vision care at a larger dose.
When you are buying a bulb, check out the Kelvin rating. The rating would be lower for warm lights. It is a misconception that bright light is good for the eyes. No, adequate light is good and not the brighter ones. Bright light increases attention, and most corporates use this technique, which throws away your eye health.
Visit the Doctor
Make it a point to visit your kid’s eye doctor once every year. Do not wait for a problem or eye infection to see the doctor. There are several over-the-counter eye drops that are considered harmless and adequate for uncomplicated infections, dryness, and itching. However, getting an eye doctor’s opinion regarding your child’s medication is best. The first reason is the dose, as most eye drops in the pharmacy are for general usage (kids and adults) or adults only.
The second reason is the contraindication of those medicines. The drops or cream you use might interact with any drug/supplement pill/food the child consumes. Some medications can cause allergic reactions too.
Parents usually advise their children to sit far from the TV to avoid eye problems. It is true if you have a vintage CRT TV. Today’s LED and LCD TVs do not cause such a problem. However, close-range viewing can cause eye fatigue/strain.
Moreover, if your child sticks to the screen without taking breaks, it can cause blurry vision, dry eyes, and other problems. Thus, teach them the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, the child has to turn away from the screen and focus on some distant object or gaze around for 20 seconds.
Eye care is not something your child might be interested in following. They are kids and do not worry about vision care or avoiding eye infections. But, if we can incorporate these habits into their lifestyle, we can ensure their eye health and help them have a healthy vision for decades.
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