Any responsible parent cares about their child’s health and well-being. From teaching them their alphabet and numbers to ensuring they receive proper medical care, you want to give your child the best opportunity to learn, grow, and be happy.
To celebrate Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month in August, the kids’ eye doctors near you at Campus Eye Center in Lancaster, PA, want to provide some tips for you to protect your kid’s eyesight.
1. Seek Routine Pediatric Eye Care
Just like routine well-being check-ups with a pediatrician, you should also take your child to regular pediatric eye care appointments. Your child’s eye doctor will evaluate them for common disorders and eye problems, like refractive errors (the need for glasses), amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (eye turn).
You should begin taking your children to a kids’ eye doctor near you around the time they are six months old. Return visits can occur at three years old and then again around ages five to six before they start kindergarten.
Since about 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems, early detection of vision issues can help safeguard your child’s vision and prevent vision loss.
2. Protect Eyes While Outside
A second tip to protect your child’s eyesight is to ensure their eyes are protected while outside. Not only will sunglasses protect your child’s eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, but they can also help them become accustomed to wearing glasses should the need arise.
It would be best if your kids also wear protective eyewear when playing sports. There are about 42,000 sports-related eye injuries every year in America, mostly in children. Protecting your child’s eyes while playing in sports or recreational activities can help ensure your child isn’t part of that statistic this year.
3. Protect Eyes While Inside
It seems children are spending more time staring at screens, like smartphones and TVs. With children ages eight to 12 spending about four to six hours a day using screens and teens up to nine hours, you should teach your child proper screen-time habits.
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children under two should only use a screen to video chat with family. In addition, you should limit screen time for children from ages two to five to one hour per weekday or three hours per weekend day. Older children may be given more time.
Regardless of the age of your child, teaching them proper screen habits can help protect their vision. Some of these include:
- Turn off screens and remove them from bedrooms about 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime
- Wear blue-light blocking glasses when staring at a screen
- Teach a child to look away every 20 minutes by setting a timer
- Limit screen time to 60-minute segments, followed by non-screen activities
- Set a good example by following the same habits
4. Keep Dangerous Objects Out of Reach
Children, especially younger children, are naturally curious and attracted to bright, shiny objects. Unfortunately, many of these objects are also dangerous.
To protect your child’s eyesight, keep chemicals like cleaning solutions and detergents out of your child’s reach. If the solutions splash in your child’s eyes, it’s not only painful but could also damage their vision.
Additionally, sharp objects, like scissors, paperclips, knives, and office supplies, should be kept away from their reach as well. Accidentally poking the eye with a sharp object can lead to corneal abrasion or an injury to the eyeball itself.
5. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
Did you know that eating the right foods during pregnancy and after can help protect your child’s vision? Encourage healthy food choices and set an example by limiting sweets, simple carbohydrates, and other unhealthy eating habits.
Kids should be consuming fruits, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables daily to help their vision health. Up to 12 ounces of fish per week, like salmon and tuna, is also a healthy choice.
6. Develop Their Hand/Eye Coordination
Watching children grow and learn is so much fun, and you can help develop their hand/eye coordination by talking to them as you move around the room so that their eyes must follow you. Keep their toys about eight to 12 inches away from them, so they must see and reach for the object they want. Encouraging your baby to crawl can also help with their coordination.
7. Promote Visual Development
Finally, promote your child’s visual development with age-appropriate toys. Large, bright rattles and shake toys help babies with their vision and hearing skills. Baby books with various textures, colors, and shapes are excellent choices to promote healthy vision. Hanging a mobile above their crib gives tiny eyes something to watch in fun shapes and colors.
You should give older children building blocks, puzzles, stringing beads, and modeling clay to boost their visual development, not to mention their creativity.
Looking for a Kids’ Eye Doctor Near You? Call Campus Eye Center!
Protecting your child’s vision is essential for ensuring they have the best chance of growing happy and healthy. Take the first step today and schedule an eye exam with the pediatric eye care experts at Campus Eye Center!
Dr. Katie Andrews and Dr. Lee A. Klombers are both passionate about working with children and have extensive experience in pediatric eye health. When you’re searching for a “kids’ eye doctor near me,” choose Campus Eye Center in Lancaster, PA, for your child’s eye exam!