Top five ways to look after your children’s eyes
August is the Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. It’s the Summer holiday and an opportunity for busy parents to get all the health checks done. Most parents follow the NHS recommendation by taking their children over 5 years old for an eye test once a year.
We have curated a list of five ways to keep your little one’s eyes as sharp as an eagle.
- Screen habits – It’s not easy, especially in recent months, where children have spent more time on technology than anything else, to drag them away from their screens. Therefore, experts have started asking parents to encourage children to follow a 20-20-20 rule which involves looking up from the screen every 20 minutes and focusing at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This eye break may indeed help in combating the negative impact of near work activities and screen time. There is now evidence by experts, in the American Association of Ophthalmology, that near work activities including screen time, is connected, to near-sightedness (myopia) and digital eye strain.
- Sunglasses – Explain to your children the dangers of looking directly at the sun and purchase good quality sunglasses. Good quality sunglasses would have a CE quality mark and the British standard BS EN 1836:2005.
- Outdoor Play – This is the perfect time for outdoor play. In a trial mentioned on the Association Of Optometrists website, the clinicians found that two hours of outdoor play does indeed have a positive impact on children’s eye health. It can even reduce the amount of myopia.
- Protective eyewear – Sports are the most common reason for sustaining eye injuries in school-aged children. It is highly recommended that parents ensure their children wear eye protectors made with polycarbonate lenses for cricket, racquet sports, paintball, hockey, and any sport that poses risk to the eyes from a fast-moving small ball or object.
- Food – Iron-rich foods and green vegetables combined with a balanced diet is key to the development of children’s eyes. Foods and fruits such as kale, papayas and mangoes are full of beta-carotene, which helps in eyesight development. “It’s always best to get the nutrients we know help vision from foods,” says Elizabeth J. Johnson, PhD. who’s a research scientist and associate professor at Tufts University in Boston.
Clinica London’s view
As with any health condition, if a child complains of vision problems or eye pain, it is always recommended that you seek specialist advise as soon as possible, to avoid deterioration and ensure that a correct diagnosis is made.
We have five ophthalmologists at Clinica London who look after children’s eyes, starting with Ms Naz Raoof the paediatric Ophthalmologist and Professor Michel Michaelides the inherited retinal diseases specialist, for vision problems. Mr Sajjad Ahmad sees children from aged 10 years with ocular surface problems, dry eyes and astigmatism and keratoconus. Ms Jane Olver and Ms Tessa Fayers also see children for watering eyes and eyelid issues.