Contributed by – Krushna Charan
Eyecare is essential for your child’s overall health. If you are not taking proper care of your child’s eyes, then vision problems may worsen over time and cause eye conditions at an early stage. Like adults, children have specific needs when it comes to their eye health. Parents need to watch out for any abnormalities in their behaviour that could suggest they are having difficulty seeing clearly. And accordingly, understand when to take them for an eye checkup, and prevent any issues cropping up in their eyesight. Read on to get an idea of the common eye health conditions in children and how you can protect your child’s eyesight from weakening.
Things you should know about your child’s eye health
A weak vision creates eye problems and affects your child’s learning ability and physical performance. So, good eye health is important for your child’s performance. There are many things that you should know about your child’s eye health to get knowledge about their eye health.
Good eye health begins even before birth
A child’s vision development begins before birth. Low birth weight can be associated with an increased risk of eye problems in infants. Exposure to hazardous toxins and smoking by pregnant women can also affect an infant’s vision development. Certain medications taken during pregnancy can also affect the eye health of the baby. So, it is important to take medicines only after consulting with your gynaecologist.
Eye checkup of your child
The first eye examination should be done at six months of age. This eye checkup should be followed by another examination at the age of three. You should have their eyes checked every two years until age 18. Children who wear eyeglasses should go for annual eye exams.
Spot the eye problem of your child
Children are not very good at expressing their problems that are bothering them, a few symptoms of eye problems in children you should look out for:
- Constant eye rubbing
- Sensitiveness to light
- Not able to track an object
- Poor alignment of eyes
- Redness in the eyes
- Trouble in reading
- Teary eyes
Common eye problems in children
There are several conditions and eye diseases that can affect a child’s eye health. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to keep your child’s eyes healthy. Here are some of the common eye problems in children you need to know.
- Strabismus: It is a condition that occurs due to the misaligned eyes of your child. The eyes may turn out, down, in, or up with this condition. If a chronic misalignment develops, the child is at risk of developing amblyopia.
- Amblyopia: This usually occurs during early childhood. The most common causes of amblyopia are refractive errors and crossed eyes. If it is untreated, then this can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is best to treat this condition before the child turns 8 years old.
- Refractive errors: Nearsightedness is the most common refractive error in school-age children. It is difficult for your child to see things in the distance. This can develop farsightedness and astigmatism. This condition can be fixed with the right kind of eyeglasses prescribed by an optometrist.
What can you do to protect your child’s eyesight?
As a parent, you should teach your children about their eye health, hygiene, and safety. Some regular practices you need to follow for their eye health.
- Give them a balanced diet: A balanced diet full of fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables can help manage your child’s eye health.
- Teach them eye exercises: You should teach some eye exercises to reduce their eye strain and protect their eyes.
- Engage them in outdoor activity: You can encourage your child to play outdoors instead of staying cooped up at home all the time.
- Ensure that they wear the correct eyeglasses: Wearing the wrong glasses can cause your child’s vision problem to worsen.
- Look for the odd changes: As a parent, you should look for any odd changes in their behaviour such as excessive blinking or rubbing of the eyes and manage these symptoms by seeing the doctor.
- Teach them to wash their hands: You should teach them to wash their hands before touching their eyes because eyes are easily attacked by germs.
As a parent, you should be aware of your child’s eye problems for the proper diagnosis and treatment before it leads to serious eye diseases. As online education is the new normal, you should be aware of your child’s screen timing and try to minimize it because too much screen time can cause eye strain and damage their eyes. If your child has any eye symptoms mentioned above, you should consult with a doctor or an optometrist immediately.
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