Poor eyesight in children is a big concern for every parent. But with proper care, we can keep those twinkling eyes safe and healthy. Want to know how? Read on.
By Amruta Deshpande
In today’s age, a majority of children spend their time indoors. They watch television, play games on the computer or tablet, read comics, etc. Over time, these habits result in more and more children suffering from a problem of poor eyesight.
Overexposure to electronic devices combined with an unhealthy diet has played a major role in contributing to a poor eyesight among children. We cannot completely ban electronics from the lives of our children. However, we can follow certain steps to keep our children’s eye in proper health.
Dr. Arun Samprathi, ophthalmologist/eye surgeon says, "In this digital era, excessive screen time is resulting in eye strain, fatigue, headaches and loss of concentration in children. Children are exposed to gadgets very early in life resulting in many eye problems. My advice for parents is to strictly prohibit the use of mobile devices ( which are more dangerous than television) or keep it to a minimum, and couple it with a healthy diet to prevent eye problems. Adequate rest is also equally important for our eyes. Most importantly. periodic check-ups at least once in two years can identify problems at an early stage."
1) Exercise: Children are always active and love to play, but they also love watching television or playing video games. Repeated exposure to the screen harms their eyes. To avoid this, minimize the screen time and take your children out to play. Let them explore the outside world. The less they focus on electronic gadgets, the better for them. Also, eye exercises can help improve children’s eyesight.
Activity: Ask your child to rub his hands together and place them on his eyelids. The warmth of the hands will warm the eyes. Ask your child to roll his eyes. To improve focus, hold a pen in front of your child and ask him to follow the pen with his eyes as you move it.
2) Nuts: Such as almonds, cashews, chia seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts are beneficial for the eyesight. These nuts contain vitamin E, which is good for reducing eye diseases and dry eyes. They also contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are good to reduce eye diseases. Also, almonds are good for memory too. So, include it in your child’s diet.
3) Fruits and veggies: Eating fruits are always good for one’s health. Fruits like orange, lemon and other citrus fruits are good for the eyes. Tomatoes contain lycopene which lessens the risk of cataract. Similarly, vegetables like carrots are beneficial for the eyes. Lack of vitamin A can cause blindness, cataract and other eye-related diseases. Carrots contain vitamin A, which help in reducing the risk of eye-related diseases. Also, it has lutein which increases the density of pigment in the macula. The macula is a yellow-shaped oval area in the centre of the retina. The retina is more protected when the pigment density is high. This reduces the risk of macular degeneration.
4) Wholesome grains: The poor eyesight problem is mostly caused by poor diet. Filling the tummy is not enough, a child needs to get complete nutrition. Consuming wholesome grains will keep the child healthy and improve their immunity. Brown rice or whole wheat includes zinc, which is important for healthy sight. So, get creative and find ways to include whole grains in your child’s diet.
5) Resting your eyes: Our eyes, like the rest of the body, need proper rest and care. The constant strain on the eyes can take its toll. Tell your child to close his eyes and rest for a few minutes every now and then. Continually watching television or playing games on the phone or reading books can put a strain on the eyes. Resting the eyes every now and then will prove beneficial.
6) Regular eye check-up: We know that regular health check-up is important. Regular eye checks up is crucial especially when you have toddlers or young children. Children are constantly on computers and mobiles, which are more visually demanding and put a strain on the eyes. Regular checkup can help in detecting any eye diseases or vision issues in children. When you know your child has low vision, you can provide solutions quickly. And the child’s performance is not hampered and they can be themselves without any worries.
Please follow the above steps to help improve your child’s eyesight and keep them healthy.
With inputs from Dr. Arun Samprathi, ophthalmologist/eye surgeon, Bangalore.
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