It is indeed troubling to see the alarming rise in the number of children using eyeglasses nowadays. Similar to adults, kids are also prone to eye diseases resulting from too much time spent watching television, using the mobile to play games and reading on digital devices. The situation has further worsened during the recent pandemic as children are confined inside their homes and even attending their classes via digital mediums. However, the good part is that you as parents can adopt different ways to protect your kid’s eyes and keep them healthy. Let’s have a look at some of these ways.
Green Leafy Vegetables in the Diet
Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of carotenoids and Vitamin A. Carotenoids help keep the eyes away from free radicals. Apart from that, they also contain minerals and vitamins like calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. Zeaxanthin and lutein present in green veggies also help protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Therefore, you should start giving your children generous helping with veggies like spinach, broccoli, kale and collard to help them maintain good eyesight.
Good Posture and Light
Whether at home or school, children should be taught to maintain good posture while reading, writing or using the computer. It is important to make sure that they maintain a straight spine with the computer screen at the eye level and the brightness adjusted to reduce eye stress or strain.
Ask them to sit in the outdoor light to protect and myopia rise. Also, the kids should be having good indoor light to avoid any strain on the eyes.
Avoid Eye Infections
Kids should always be taught be good hygiene habits especially when it comes to avoiding eye infections or irritations. Being parents you should teach them never to touch their eyes without washing their hands as bacteria can spread from the fingers to the eyes. Also, you should suggest they to use safety goggles while cleaning their rooms to avoid dust from getting into their eyes.
Limit Screen time & Encourage outside activities
Playing video games, watching YouTube videos and constantly texting friends exposes your child to blue light, which can lead to digital eyestrain. Digital eye strain can cause headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and other discomforts. To avoid this, reduce your child’s screen time with digital devices instead encourage them to play outside. Outdoor plays can reduce the chance of developing myopia and improve overall health.
Simple eye exercises like eye-rolling, blinking and palming can be taught to children to help them reduce eye stress. It may not improve their eyesight or reduce glass power. While blinking comes naturally but as an exercise, you should ask your kids to close their eyes for 2 seconds and then open their eyes and blink rapidly for five seconds. This should be repeated 5 times. Palming is easy as you just have to tell them to rub their hands and place the palms gently on the eyes. This can also be repeated 5 times. All these exercises help increase blood flow to the eyes and promote good eye health.
Routine Eye Check-Ups
Irrespective of whether your child complains of eye problems or not, it is essential to take them to a pediatric ophthalmologist for routine eye check-ups. In some cases of eye diseases, the symptoms are not immediately visible which is why a doctor’s check-up holds crucial importance. A pediatric ophthalmologist is a specialist for eye diseases in children. Just remember that child is not a small compressed adult.
About the author: Dr Jitendra Jethani, Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Baroda Children Eye Care & Squint Clinic and Medical consultant for Entod Pharmaceuticals
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