The eyes undergo certain changes as your children grow. You should pay close attention to your child’s eye health from birth to young adulthood to keep them unimpaired or catch eye problems early on. The eyes develop at a different pace for every child but there are ways to make sure that their eyes are protected:
Proper Diet During Pregnancy
Having a balanced diet during pregnancy will ensure the proper growth and development of a baby. Eating nutritious foods can support overall health and play a significant role in brain and eye development during pregnancy. It also reduces the risk of numerous birth defects.
Avoid Smoking when Pregnant
Smoking during pregnancy is harmful to the eyes of an unborn child. It also increases the risk of giving birth prematurely. Premature babies have a higher chance of suffering from blindness, permanent vision loss, or bacterial meningitis that can cause serious loss of vision. Even secondhand smoking can damage an unborn baby’s eyes.
Provide Nourishing Meals
Give your child meals that include vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish. These foods consist of essential nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Provide Age-Appropriate Toys
Giving your kids age-appropriate toys means you are letting them play with toys that are a good match to their age, skills, and interests. Toys that are right for their age are also safe to play with.
Enhance Visual Engagement
Help your newborn or toddler get engaged visually by using different bright colors and patterns in decors and toys. Teach your baby to play games that promote hand-eye coordination like peekaboo. For toddlers, playing catch is highly recommended.
Children become more active as they grow and pediatric eye injuries often happen. You can prevent these injuries by providing them with protective eyewear like safety glasses and googles made with unbreakable materials such as polycarbonate and UV-coated lenses.
Restrict the Use of Digital Screens
Digital learning has become common over the past years. PCs, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones are very much present in the lives of children these days. Limit their screen time, eyes should be 18-24 inches away from the screen, rest eyes every 20 minutes, and don’t forget to blink.
Get Regular Eye Check-Ups
Newborns get their eyes checked in the hospital. Then your child’s pediatrician can check them every visit. Kids in school also get their eyes checked by the school nurse. If the pediatrician, nurse, or doctor finds a problem that needs to be addressed by an expert, you will be advised to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
Most vision problems that are detected early can be corrected. Call your doctor immediately if you notice your child struggling with the following:
- Holding objects close to see clearly
- Eyes are often red
- Eyes are always teary
- Rubbing eyes
- Different sized pupils
- Sensitive to light
- Has a problem focusing
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- No interest in reading
- No interest in looking at far objects
- Complains of eye discomfort
- Unable to see distant objects
- Difficulty reading
- Head tilting
Having good eyesight is very important in ensuring a child’s overall development. Being able to see things clearly will help children develop and reach their full potential, both socially and academically. It’s very important to take care of children’s eyes and since they are still developing, eye problems that are treated early can make a big difference in their future.