Your child’s eyes are delicate and important for their growth and development. Problems related to your child’s vision might go unnoticed if you fail to educate your child on eye care, because a child might not even realize anything is wrong. Some eye conditions that go unnoticed and untreated can cause more harm that could have been avoided. Hence as a parent, you need to teach your child about eye health because healthy eye care behaviours would better guarantee that your child leads a healthy lifestyle and maintains a good vision for life.
Ensure that your child is aware of general health behaviours that can influence your child’s eyes and vision. Your child needs to know more about eye-related injuries and infections that may affect their eyes. Good eye care knowledge and behaviours cultivated from a young age can help your child lead a healthy lifestyle.
As you raise your child in the digital age, you would likely feel very concerned about your child’s face-to-screen distance and posture when engaging in their digital devices. Educate your child on the Harmon distance, that is the distance from your chin to your elbow, as an optimal viewing distance when holding digital devices. By using the Harmon distance as a reference, your child can avoid holding digital screens too close to his or her eyes. Moreover, encourage your child to take an eye break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, by looking at something 20 feet away, when your child has to look at digital screens for longer time frames.
You can teach your child to protect his or her eyes in several ways. For example, teach your child to hold sharp and pointed objects like knives, scissors, or even pencils with the sharp ends of these objects pointing downwards. Teach your child never to point these sharp objects in the direction of others, especially their heads and eyes. When your child has to play high-impact sports like rugby, advise your child to wear the necessary eye protective gear to prevent eye injury. If your child has to handle chemicals or certain tools in school or at a part-time job, he or she would have to don protective eye gear like goggles to prevent foreign substances from entering the eyes and leading to grave eye injuries.
Educate children to always wash their hands before they come into contact with their eyes. Your child who is wearing contact lenses would have to follow the eye doctor’s instructions carefully to ensure contact lens hygiene. When your child wears makeup, get rid of old makeup and avoid sharing makeup with others to avoid the spread of bacteria that could cause eye infections. If your child feels something in his or her eye, rubbing the eyes could make the discomfort worse or even scratch the eyeball so it is not advised to do so. If your child is still young, ask him or her to get an adult to try to wash the object or particle from the eye.
Protect your child’s eyes from too much ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun by encouraging your child to wear 100% UV blocking sunglasses when outdoors. Discourage your child from looking directly at the sun.
Educate your child on the relationship between a proper diet and eye health. A balanced diet full of omega-3s found in fish (like salmon and tuna), fresh fruits and vegetables (like kale and spinach) can help your child’s eyes receive the proper nutrients they need to function.
Having an active lifestyle can reduce the risk that your child develops diseases like diabetes that can result in blindness. Also, having an active lifestyle and being outdoors can reduce the amount of time your child spends in front of digital screens.
Encourage your child to take notice of any changes in his or her vision. Your child can inform you if his or her eyes feel pain or if the vision is blurry. That being said, continue to monitor your child for unusual signs like excessive rubbing, blinking, or viewing distances that are too close.
If your child goes to school, you might tend to rely on the school and your child’s teachers to detect any potential eye problems. However, as the parent and primary caregiver of your child, you should be proactive in monitoring your child’s eye health and encouraging your child to monitor his or her eye health by going for regular and timely eye checks. If you are in Singapore, book an eye check appointment using our planoEyecheck platform.
Centre for Sight. 2021. 7 Things You Should Teach Your Children about Eye Safety. [online] Available at: <https://www.centreforsight.net/blog/7-things-teach-children-eye-safety/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].
Eyecare Professionals. 2021. 10 Tips to Teach Children About Eye Safety. [online] Available at: <https://www.eyecaredoctors.com/2016/08/30/10-tips-to-teach-children-about-eye-safety-2016/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].
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