In our “screen” era, anomalies in children’s vision are mainly associated with their time spent on gadgets. However, other factors cannot be discounted, such as genetic predisposition, the quality of consumed products, and even a lack of fresh air exposure. In this article, we will consider the basic rules for a healthy child’s vision.
What are the risks of vision problems for children?
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness has published statistical data regarding children’s vision-related diseases and prevention. According to their calculations, at least 450 million children worldwide have pathologies of the visual system that require treatment, and 90 million children live with some form of vision loss.
Among the main causes identified by the organization are uncorrected refractive anomalies, cataracts, retinopathy of prematurity, congenital anomalies, corneal scarring, and cerebral disorders. The consequences of not following visual hygiene vary from a decrease in a child’s self-esteem to difficulties with self-care.
The statistics are staggering. Therefore, let’s explore what you need to know about children’s vision.
Basic rules for preventing vision problems in children and adolescents
Earlier, we published an article on how to recognize vision problems in a timely manner. Here, you can familiarize yourself with visual standards for children according to age, the main eye pathologies, and diagnostic principles. Now, our task is to figure out how to maintain a child’s vision. Please note the following rules that we want to bring to your attention.
Balance your child’s diet
It has long been proven that zinc, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E are beneficial for eye health. To prevent vision problems in children, diversify their diet with the following types of foods:
- Fruits that contain vitamins C and E can be found in oranges, strawberries, and mangoes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, can help prevent dry eye syndrome and reduce the risk of developing cataracts in the future.
- Leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A.
- Protein-rich foods such as eggs and nuts are also important for maintaining healthy eyes.
In addition, a healthy diet can help prevent obesity and hypertension, which can lead to complications in the visual system.
Pay attention to signs of vision problems. To briefly remind you of what is considered normal vision in children according to commonly accepted standards:
- At age 3: 0.6-0.9;
- At age 5: 0.8-1.0;
- At age 6 and older: 0.9-1.0.
If your child squints, doesn’t focus on distant objects, holds objects close to their eyes, rubs their eyes, has unexplained tearing, or behaves in any other unusual way, you should immediately consult an ophthalmologist.
Make sure your child spends time outdoors.
Sometimes the busy rhythm of a child’s life doesn’t allow for outdoor activities. However, this seemingly small detail really relieves their eyes. School-age children are the main category at risk for nearsightedness. Therefore, if you are wondering how to protect your child’s eyesight, plan outdoor activities so that not only their nervous system but also their eyes can rest.
Don’t neglect sunglasses.
They are not only a means of protection from aggressive sunlight, but also a stylish accessory that your child will enjoy wearing on beautiful sunny days. Prolonged exposure to UV rays without protection can lead to cataracts, corneal damage, and macular degeneration of the retina. Another important rule for maintaining eye health is to choose high-quality sunglasses. You should prefer accessories that have protection against 100% of ultraviolet rays. Low-quality sunglasses lead to the dilation of pupils and an increase in the amount of UV rays entering the eyes. Therefore, when choosing eye protection, pay attention to this indicator.
Promote Visual Culture
If your child already wears glasses or contact lenses, you should provide instructions on how to use them properly. Children, due to their carelessness and lack of knowledge, may handle visual aids carelessly. Promote visual culture from the first day of wearing these accessories. Explain that glasses or lenses should not be removed until the child, for example, finishes reading or watching a movie. Over time, this will become a habit.
In addition, explain that damaging the glass can lead to eye injury. Therefore, wearing broken glasses is extremely unacceptable. To keep your eyes healthy, purchase glasses only on the ophthalmologist’s prescription. Also, do not neglect timely replacement of lenses.
Monitor the amount of time your child spends with electronic devices
Perhaps every child is familiar with eye strain due to the use of gadgets. But an unstoppable interest urges him to sacrifice his vision. As parents, you should know that screen time should be less than an hour for children under five years old. For older children, it should be 60 minutes a day. Compliance with these norms minimizes the risk associated with deteriorating vision. In addition, make sure that the child does not use electronic devices before going to bed. Different parental control programs can help you with this.
Teach your child not to rub their eyes
This harmful habit is not only inappropriate but also a source of infection that easily penetrates the mucous membrane. If your child’s eyes itch, encourage them to rinse them under running water. There is nothing shameful about this action, and the risk of developing conjunctivitis or foreign body penetration is greatly reduced.
These simple rules will allow your child to enter adulthood with healthy eyes! Look for even more useful articles for parents in other sections of our blog.
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