All parents want the best for their children. Whether that means success in everything life has to offer or overall health and well-being, you want your kids to be at their very best.
Your child’s eye health is an important part of this due to the huge role vision plays in every child’s development.
However, technology is changing the nature of childhood. Children love their tablets and smartphones, but it’s contributing to a spike in our children suffering from eye problems such as poor vision, eye strain short sightedness among others.
In fact, eye health is deteriorating on a global scale, with the incidence of short-sightedness practically doubling to 42% in US since 1971. Meanwhile, up to 90% of teenagers and adults in Asia are shot-sighted.
There is no denying that poor eyesight is a common issue amongst children these days.
However, there are simple, easy and safe ways to improve your child’s eye health and save yourself and your child the worry of wearing glasses or contacts as a solution to correct a child’s vision.
1. Reduce Exposure to Blue Light
There is no doubt that children and technology these days are inseparable. Children adore smart phones, tablets, computers, and iPads – you name it!
Statistics show that more than 30% of children under the age of 2 have used a tablet or smartphone and 75% of kids age 8 and younger live with one or more mobile devices in the home.
However, what all these screens have in common is that they emit blue light that may negatively impact your child’s eye health in addition to other aspects of their general wellbeing. You can learn more on the effects of blue light on your child’s eye health in our blog.
In as much as it can be a challenge for a parent to limit the “screen-time” for their child it is important for a parent to ensure the safety and health of your child even in today’s digital era.
There are simple recommended ways to reduce your child’s exposure to blue light:
- Protect their eyes from blue light by using blue light filters. You can try out Ocushield, the world’s first and only medically-rated blue light filters. These are available as screen protectors, or as glasses – suitable for older kids.
- Plan a frequent break routine for your child. Current guidelines recommend no more than an hour of screen time for children aged 2-5 and only two hours a day for kids 5-18.
2. Perform Eye Exercises
Practicing eye exercises frequently can help to correct and improve your child’s eye health. Eye exercises are safe for children to practise, are easy and can be done within a short period.
Regular eye exercises help not only to battle eye strain but also improve focus as well as concentration.
Eye shift exercises can be very effective in enhancing eye vision. Children should learn to shift their eyes quickly between objects at different distances.
You can ask your child to pretend to write something on an empty wall with their eyes – a very good exercise for strengthening their vision.
You can also ask your child to roll their eyes in a clockwise direction for a few seconds, then counter-clockwise for a few seconds, repeating the action a few times. Or you can ask your child to ‘flutter’ their eyelids by rapidly and repeatedly blinking his eyes 20 to 30 times. After this, the eyes should be closed for rest.
Memory games are also helpful. The purpose of these games is to increase your child’s visual memory. The more your child can recall, the better it will help your child enhance the cognitive abilities and vision.
3. Encourage a Healthy Diet
It is very important to include foods that help improve your child’s eye health as they need a number of a key nutrients to function properly.
Green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are packed with vitamins A, C, B12 and Calcium which are known to improve vision. You can also try carrots, capsicums, garlic, nuts and eggs, and fresh fruits. Even trendy favourites like avocados will help bolster the health of your child’s vision.
Finally, fish contains healthy omega3 fatty acids which are excellent for strengthening eye muscles, improving your sight.
4. Ensure They Get Enough Rest
You can encourage your child to take some time and relax. Make sure your child’s eyes get ample rest every day and allow your child to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours each night.
Avoiding stress to the eyes can allow them to avoid further harm and even perform better during everyday activities.
5. Have Regular Eye Checks
Having your child’s eyes checked out by an eye specialist regularly is imperative. It will help to ensure your child’s vision is good and will help in the early detection of any health issues.
As in most other conditions or illnesses, early detection will go a long way towards mitigating the symptoms as well as any long-term effects.
While there are no easy answers, we do know parents can have a huge impact on how kids use media. The challenge is figuring out how to get the most from technology without letting it get out of control.
By following these simple measures, you can safeguard your child’s eyesight, even as they grow up in this modern age.