6 Easy Ways to Protect Your Child’s Vision
As a parent, it’s natural to want only good things for your children – both while they’re in your care and after they’re on their own. If you’re concerned about your child’s vision because of your own poor eyesight, these six ways you can protect your child’s eyesight could help.
1. Crib Activities
Good vision starts as soon as your child is born. Hanging a mobile over their crib will give your child something distant to focus on, which could minimize their risk of myopia later in childhood. Whenever you’re in the same room with your child, talk to them as you move around. This will encourage them to follow you with their eyes, further helping with the development of their vision.
2. Good Habits
Helping your child to develop good habits will help their eyesight as well as their overall health. For instance, encouraging children to spend an hour or two playing outside each day will allow them to get healthy sun exposure while forcing them to work on their hand-eye coordination and distance vision.
If your child likes to spend free time playing games on a phone or computer, remind them to look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so and get up and move around at least every two hours. The same goes for reading, as up-close activities have the ability to promote near-sightedness, dry eyes and eyestrain over time.
Although your children might love the idea of fast food or pizza every night for dinner, poor nutrition can get in the way of good eyesight. Whenever possible, try to work in the following foods that promote good visual health:
- Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit
- Leafy green veggies, like kale, spinach and collards
- Non-meat protein sources, like eggs, nuts and beans
- Oily fish, like salmon and tuna.
Not only have studies shown these types of foods to be good for the eyes, but focusing on balance in your children’s diets could help them avoid childhood obesity and the eye-related troubles that come with diabetes.
4. Safety Eyewear
Let’s face it; most children would rather look cool while participating in an activity than bother with safety gear. Unfortunately, participating in sports is one of the leading causes of childhood eye injuries. Whether your child is going for a bike ride with the family or participating in a junior sports league, be sure to stress the importance of wearing all the appropriate safety gear, including protective eyewear. If it’s an activity you participate in together, wearing protective eyewear yourself can reinforce the importance of this with your children.
While spending a little time in the sun every day can help your body produce Vitamin D, too much time can be dangerous for your skin and your vision. If your children will be spending time outdoors – even on cloudy or cool days – encourage them to wear sunglasses whenever possible. Sunglasses can minimize the number of headaches they get from squinting, but will also limit the number of UV rays that bombard their eyeballs. Since ultraviolet light has been linked to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration, it’s worth picking up a good pair of sunglasses for each of your children.
6. Yearly Eye Exams
Above all, remember to keep your children on a regular schedule of eye exams with a pediatrician and optometrist. Even when you’re doing everything you can to protect your child’s eyesight, heredity and other genetic factors can still cause problems. Catching vision issues and eye disorders early is the best way to keep them from becoming major issues for your children later in life.