August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. In celebration of the event, we wanted to encourage you to keep your kids’ eyesight in tip top shape, too! See, humans are very visual, and we experience much of the world in terms of lightness, color, and other visual cues. You wouldn’t want your kids to miss out on such a vibrant world, would you?
Here are some tips on how you can help your kids maintain their eyesight’s well-being and full functionality:
1. Eat an eye-friendly diet.
This is, without doubt, the best way to begin. As kids’ eyes are still developing, they need proper nourishment so that their sense of sight becomes as sharp and functional as it should be. As parents, you can do this by keeping certain kinds of food an essential part of their diet, especially those that contain nutrients like zinc, vitamins C and E, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids. These include:
- Green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
- Oily fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel
- Non-meat sources of protein, such as nuts, beans, and eggs
- Fruit juices and citrus, such as oranges and lemons
- Seafood and meat, such as oysters and pork
A healthy diet will help in two ways. First, it will protect the eyes from premature damage. Certain nutrients, such as protein, are incredibly helpful to developing tissues, while vitamins like C and E help repair broken tissues and ward off infections. Second, they keep your kids away from obesity, which can lead to eye-damaging complications like diabetes.
2. Encourage getting enough sleep or rest.
A restful sleep refreshes not just the body, but also the eyes. Sleeping enough keeps your kid’s vision clear and crisp, and helps their eyes’ good health.
3. Play outdoors.
Letting your kids out to experience the sun and the air can be beneficial to their eyes. Research indicates that spending time outdoors can help your children avoid eye problems, particularly myopia. Seeing various colors and experiencing differing proximities will also stimulate your children’s senses and assist them to develop normally, sort of like what exercise does to one’s muscles.
4. Protect eyes from the sun.
If you do spend time outdoors, make sure your kids’ eyes are adequately shielded from the sun. This is to protect them from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, too much exposure to which can lead to eye damage and deterioration. Needless to say, you shouldn’t let your kids stare at the sun directly, too. Making your children wear sunglasses, especially those that absorb 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays will shield them from the sun’s harmful rays. Even when your kids are wearing contact lens with a degree of sun protection, a pair of sunglasses will help immensely.
5. Make sure they’re clean.
The eyes have their own variety of safety measures, but they can be prone to infection if they frequently make contact with anything dirty. A good way to keep them clean is to teach your kids to wash their hands properly and regularly. Kids like touching the areas surrounding their eyes, a habit which can lead germs to enter and cause havoc. Washing hands won’t take away the habit of touching close to the eyes, but it will eliminate the germs. You can also encourage them to use a hanky to clean their eyes instead of using their bare hands.
6. Use safety eye wear.
It’s great to encourage kids to play and engage in sports, but these can be risky for their eyes, too. Protect them from harmful impacts by using safety eye wear that is appropriate for their sport. After all, the possibility of an injury should not hinder your kids from having fun and benefiting from their chosen activity.
7. Do not stare at computer screens.
Modern technology means the proliferation of gadgets and machines, such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones that use blue light-emitting screens. Staring at these devices, especially during the night, can cause damage to your kids’ eyes. Some of the negative effects of staring at these screens are:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
To avoid these problems, you can take the following tips:
- Limit your children’s use of their gadgets, especially at night.
- Let them wear computer glasses as their lens come with a coating that protects the eyes from too much glare.
- Use an anti-glare screen, if needed and available.
- If your kids have to stare at a phone or computer, teach them to look away every few minutes.
8. Keep them away from injury.
You should discourage habits that might endanger your kids’ sight, such as placing sharp objects close to their eyes or staring into very bright light sources. Some children may not even be aware of what they’re doing, so talk to them carefully. Explain to them the risks, so that they themselves make the conscious decision to avoid harm.
9. Use proper care for injuries.
If your children do injure their eyes, make sure you take the proper steps to care for them. Here are great tips to remember:
- Do not touch, rub, or apply pressure to the eye.
- If there are objects lodged inside the eye, do not remove it yourself. If it is small, ask your kid to blink rapidly as this might remove the object from the eye.
- Do not apply medication or ointment to the eye by yourself.
- If the eye was exposed to chemicals, use water to rinse the eye.
- If the eye was punctured or cut, cover it properly.
Take your child to the doctor to ensure that proper care is given.
10. Visit the doctor.
Some eye conditions do not have readily noticeable symptoms, so regular visits to an ophthalmologist will help in catching them early, often while they can be easily treated. Checkups also ensure that any problem, such as nearsightedness, is addressed promptly and properly with the right tools.
Your kids’ eyes will play a huge role in how they develop, so it is crucial that you help ensure their safety and health. From letting them eat the right food to taking them to the doctor regularly, your efforts are an investment of sorts into a bright and vivid future for your kids.