As a parent, protecting your child is one of your most important jobs. From using seatbelts in the car to teaching them about stranger danger, your child’s safety and security is always at the top of your mind. Parents may not think of their child’s vision as something that needs protecting, but healthy vision is something they need to succeed throughout their entire life! Follow these helpful tips to provide the best possible chance of a lifetime of healthy vision for your child.
Your child’s vision begins developing in the womb, so you can give them an advantage starting during your pregnancy:
- Eat yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetable which are high in beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A and can help in the healthy development of your baby’s eyes
- Increase your lutein and zeaxanthin levels, which are important for your baby’s developing retina and brain, by eating green, leafy vegetables, corn or brightly colored fruits and vegetables
- Don’t smoke, as smoking during pregnancy has been associated with an increase in vision problems in children later on
One of the best places to really make a difference in your child’s vision is at home! Starting from a young age, and continuing as they grow, try the following strategies:
- Provide visually-stimulating toys and mobiles for your baby to help encourage visual development
- Encourage puzzles, building blocks, arts and crafts as they get older to help develop hand-eye coordination skills
- Make sure sharp objects and dangerous chemicals are out of reach
- Feed them a healthy, well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, poultry and fish which provide important vitamins and minerals that promote overall eye health
- Make sure they wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection whenever they are outside, to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays that can damage their eyes and increase the risk of cataracts or macular degeneration later on
You can’t always be with your child, but you can encourage healthy practices for protecting their vision while they are away. When they are in school:
- Have them use a blue light filter on digital devices they use in the classroom or for remote learning
- Remind your child to try to look away from their screen every 20 minutes if possible, to avoid eye strain and give their eyes a needed break
- Always make sure they wear protective eyewear, such as goggles, eye guards or full face guards when participating in sports
For a lifetime of eye health
Protecting your child’s vision is not always based on one specific place. There are things you can do throughout their life to ensure they have the healthiest possible vision:
- Take them for regular eye exams starting at age 6 months, 3 years, before kindergarten and then yearly after age 5
- Take corrective action as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis of any vision condition, including eye glasses or more advanced vision therapy treatments
- Encourage good hygiene habits, including proper hand washing and keeping their hands away from their eyes, to avoid eye infection or scratches.
- Pay attention to any warning signs of a problem with your child’s vision, including increased squinting, eye rubbing, light sensitivity, poor hand-eye coordination or eyes that turn in the wrong direction
At Family Vision Development Center, we are committed to providing the best possible eye care to your whole family, at all stages of your child’s development. Our comprehensive vision exams allow us to quickly detect any vision issues and develop the best treatment plan, such as glasses, contacts or an effective vision therapy program. Contact our Aurora office at 630-862-2020 to get more information or to schedule your appointment!