Look out for Your Child: 5 Early Vision Care Tips

Sight is the most precious of our five senses, and it’s crucial that we take care of our vision from a very young age. The first few years of a child’s life are the most important, as this is when they develop neural connections which form the basis of their vision.

Children’s learning depends on how well they can see since about 80% of what they learn is visual.  If a child cannot see what is on the blackboard or follow along in their books, they will fall behind which will impact how well they develop.

Signs of Vision Problems in Children

As parents, it’s our responsibility to look out for our children and make sure their vision develops at the pace it should. Here are a few signs to watch out for that might indicate your child suffers from vision problems:

Many eye problems stay undetected, as it is often difficult for parents to see that their child has vision problems. Apart from looking out for the signs, follow these five early vision care tips which will help to prevent vision problems from going undetected and help children’s eyes stay healthy.

1. Regular Eye Exams

A child’s first vision test should be between 2 and 3 years of age. Thereafter, the vision should be tested every 2 years. Some schools offer vision screening services which can detect some eye problems, but not all. Some conditions like near vision, eye coordination, the ability to focus, and amblyopia are often missed. For example, amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is when one of the eyes doesn’t receive a clear image due to the wiring of the eyes not being developed properly. Amblyopia is a serious condition that needs early intervention to develop proper vision in the weaker eye. After 5 years of age, amblyopia is often impossible to correct.

A thorough eye exam via an optometrist or ophthalmologist is recommended every 2 years.

2. Healthy Diet for Healthy Eyes

A diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies of every color will ensure your child gets all the necessary vitamins. Here are a few foods that are essential to healthy eyes and foods that should be avoided:

3. Protect from Eye Injuries

It’s important for your child to know how to be protected from getting eye injuries. Here are a few specific ways to prevent eye injuries:

4. Limit Screen Time

Screens, like an Ipad, computer, phone, or TV, dry and tire out the eyes since we blink 50% less when in front of a screen. People may develop itchy eyes, blurry vision, eye strain, or fatigue when exposed to too much screen time. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

5. Limit UV Exposure

Too much exposure to UV light increases the risk of getting an eye disease later in life, such as cataract, benign eye growths, or eye cancer. Follow these guidelines to help protect your eyes from too much UV exposure:

Look out for Your Child

August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month, to create awareness of the correlation between children’s vision and their ability to learn and develop at a healthy pace. Vision problems that go undetected often lead to poor performance and poor self-confidence.

Follow these early vision care tips and look out for the telltale signs to make sure your child doesn’t become a victim of poor vision.

Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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