Common problems in children include myopia or short sight where the child does not see distant objects clearly, and hyperopia or long sight where the child cannot see nearby objects clearly. Both short and long sight require correction with glasses.
- Children who need to wear glasses should be encouraged to wear them.
- Plastic frames and impact-resistant lenses are best for children.
- Children with a family history of eye problems should get their eyes checked at an early age with yearly follow-ups.
- Outdoor activities should be encouraged.
- Restrict computer games and TV-watching.
- While reading, books should be kept at a distance of at least 25cms from the eye with light falling on the book from behind.
- Squinting is not a sign of good luck. A child with a squint should be seen by an eye doctor to rule out serious eye problems.
- Children should avoid playing with toys that have sharp and pointed ends.
- Diet should include red and green vegetables like spinach, carrots and beetroot; milk products; yellow fruits like papaya and mango; and fish for non-vegetarians.
- Protective eyewear needs to be used in contact sports; sunglasses should be used when going out in the hot sun; goggles must be used while swimming.
Dr Bina John is the chief medical officer and senior paediatric ophthalmologist at Rajan Eye Care, Chennai.