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According to statistics, one in 20 kids between the ages of 3 and 5 has a significant eye condition that, if left untreated, would cause a permanent vision impairment. Despite that, only one in five preschoolers receive regular eye examinations. It is really worrying.
Healthy eyes and vision are really crucial in the development of young children. It's not always possible for kids to recognize when their eyes are not really healthy, therefore the responsibility falls upon our shoulders as adults to ensure that our younger generation stays on top of their vision.
However, as a parent, especially for those who are not in a medical field, the questions that are frequently asked is how or what are the proactive ways that can be done, in order to ensure our child’s eyes are in good health?
With high contrast colors and patterns in toys and decorations, you may encourage your child's visual development as a baby and toddler. When introducing your child to new environments, give them time to focus on the surroundings.
When approaching objects from different angles, let your child become comfortable with having a wider field of vision. The same way a game of catch can aid your toddler or school-aged child, playing games like peekaboo and patty cake with babies can help them develop their hand-eye coordination.
It has been discovered that nutrients like zinc, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E are excellent for eye health.
Fruits that are high in Vitamin C, and E, such as mangoes, oranges, and strawberries can support tissue repair and help in infection prevention.
Fish is a good source of omega - 3 fatty acids, which can also lower the risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and prevent dry eyes or cataracts in the future.
Vitamin A-rich leafy greens like spinach and kale helps combat dry eye as well as night blindness.
Eggs and nuts, which are both plant-based proteins or also known as non-meat proteins, can help balance your child's diet.
Furthermore, it's critical to keep in mind that a balanced diet can aid in preventing chronic diseases like obesity and hypertension, which have been connected to contribute to eye conditions.
Each year, mishaps at home, at play, or in the car cause thousands of children to suffer eye injury or even blindness. The use of appropriate protective eyewear can help prevent more than 90% of all eye injuries.
It's crucial for kids to know about eye safety procedures and use protective eyewear when participating in sports, recreation, crafts, or home projects. Make sure your child is wearing protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses made of shatterproof plastic, and look for any dangerous equipment in any indoor or outdoor areas where they might be playing.
The safe handling of everyday objects like paper clips, pencils, scissors, bungee cords, wire coat hangers, and rubber bands should be practiced by parents and anyone who looks after children.
Screens from computers, tablets, and mobile phones are more prevalent in children's life than ever nowadays as digital learning becomes more common.
Encourage your child to adhere to the 20-20-20 rule, which states that they should look away from their screen once every 20 minutes and at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Keep screens 18 to 24 inches away from the child's eyes.
Studies have found that blue light from digital gadgets is not harmful to the eyes, but prolonged close viewing of these screens can result in digital eye strain, a condition which can lead to impaired vision, dry, itchy eyes, and concentration problems.
If you notice that your child has trouble with any of the following, you may be able to make an early detection of vision problems :
Lack of interest in far-off items.
Lack of interest in reading or seeing far-off items.
Holding something very near with the eyes.
Uncoordinated hands and eyes.
Make an appointment with your local ophthalmologist for additional checks if you or your kid's pediatrician feel that your child may have a visual problem. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take in order to cope with any problems with vision development.
In an unwanted event or situation where your child’s eye suffers from injuries, even if the injury initially seems trivial, an ophthalmologist, primary care physician, school nurse, or children's health services should examine the eye as soon as possible.
Sometimes a significant injury is not immediately clear. Delaying medical care might make the damaged areas worse and increase the risk of blindness or permanent vision loss. Give the child the following care while seeking medical attention :
NEVER touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
NEVER attempt to remove any foreign item from the eye.
NEVER put any lotion or medication to the eye.
Gently covering a cut or puncture wound.
Only flush with lots of water only if exposed to chemicals.
Notes From DOC2US:
Children are special and so is their sight. Safety and eye health are crucial elements of a fulfilling childhood, making healthy eyesight essential for a child's overall health — both physically and emotionally.
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is celebrated every year during August to prevent blindness. This month aims to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of children’s eyes. So, help us spread the awareness by sharing this article to family and friends. Okay?
Written by Anas Fikri, MB BCh;
Medically reviewed by Nur Ariffin, MBBS UniSZA
US Preventive Services Task Force. (2011). Vision screening for children 1 to 5 years of age: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation statement. Pediatrics, 127(2), 340-346.
Pinion, S. (2018). Seeing the material world through a child's eyes. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 2(10), 706.
Boulet, C. (2016). The ‘20/20/20 rule’–When good intentions and axiomatic habit displace best practices. Canadian Journal of Optometry, 78(4), 6-6.
Hobbs, R. P., & Bernstein, P. S. (2014). Nutrient supplementation for age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and dry eye. Journal of ophthalmic & vision research, 9(4), 487.
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