Kids see all kinds of wonderful things with their eyes – balls flying into the sky, their delicious home-cooked dinner, their parents’ smiling faces. What they see helps them develop, and it is essential that their eyes are kept healthy. Here are some ways to make sure that your kids’ eyes stay safe and healthy.
Listen to them
If your kids are complaining about not being able to see properly or read the board at school, then make sure that you listen to them and take them to a specialist who can help figure out the issue.
They might just have myopia and will need glasses, but only they know whether they can see well or not. There are plenty of doctors and eye care specialists who can help you figure out what’s wrong with your kids’ eyes.
Dr. Rohit Varma is one such specialist – he is an ophthalmologist who specializes in the treatment of glaucoma and cataracts.
Make sure that they wear sunglasses
Children spend lots of time outside when it’s sunny, especially during the summer when school’s out. This means that they could be glancing at the sun several times a day. The sun is harmful to skin due to UV radiation, but it is also dangerous to stare at too much because of just how bright it is and because of the radiation.
UV radiation can enter the eye and be absorbed by the retina, the lining at the back of your eye that receives light. When the retina absorbs a lot of UV radiation, it results in the formation of free radicals, which then start to oxidize the surrounding tissues, destroying the photoreceptors.
During a solar eclipse, it is even more important to make sure that your kids are properly protected and that they understand the negative effects of staring at the sun because the sun won’t be too bright to look at. Educate your kids and make sure that they wear sunglasses when it is very bright outside.
Give them a healthy diet
Diet can have a huge impact on a person’s health, including their eyes. Everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eyesight, but there’s actually a lot more food that affects your eyesight. Vitamins C and E are important for cleansing your eyes of harmful free radicals.
Over time, these will reduce the chances of your kids developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Foods with vitamin C and E include citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage, tomato and leafy greens. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, which the body requires to keep the cornea healthy.
The British Ministry of Food during the Second World War even ran a campaign saying that Royal Air Force pilots ate lots of carrots and that was why they were able to shoot down so many German planes. However, it is unclear how much of an impact carrots had on the pilots’ ability.
Don’t let them stare at screens all day
Kids love video games and watching videos on YouTube, just like many adults do. However, spending too much time staring at a screen can have a negative effect on your kids’ eyes. Playing video games has been known to make people forget to blink.
Blinking is an important part of eye maintenance and we do it 15 to 20 times a minute. We often blink when the brain detects a moment in which we do not need to concentrate, so it uses that moment to re-moisten the eyes.
When gaming, your kids need to concentrate on every single moment because otherwise they might lose the game. This results in less blinking and dry, itchy and irritated eyes. Additionally, staring at a screen right before going to bed can have a bad impact on your kids’ ability to sleep. Screens release blue light, which messes with our body clocks, convincing them that it is still daytime.
Get their eyes tested
Kids are constantly growing and developing, so it is important to get them tested regularly for all aspects of their health, including their eyes. Eyes can develop all sorts of issues, including straightforward genetic degradation of eyesight that is corrected by glasses.
Depending on their genetics, glasses wearers can start to lose their eyesight as early as at elementary school. Regular eye tests will help ensure that any new developments with their eyes are discovered quickly and solved correctly.