Eyeing Your Child’s Vision Development
The first years of your child’s development set the stage for their growth well into adulthood. Your job as a parent is to provide favourable conditions for your child to thrive.
This includes taking care of their eyesight, which is prone to developing erratically. Improper sugar levels, eye injuries, and certain illnesses can all cause myopia and other eye conditions at an early age.
While medical treatments for vision do exist for children, the best cure is simply prevention. Here is our guide to some of the steps parents can take to ensure clear and lasting vision for their children.
My Optometrist Calgary specializes in pediatric eye care. See how our experts can ensure proper eyesight development for your child by calling 403-256-0606 or filling out the online contact form below.
4 Ways To Care For Your Child’s Eyesight
Nurturing your child’s eyesight is surprisingly easy. All it takes is the development of a few good habits and a dash of common sense. Here are 4 ways for you to keep your child’s eyes healthy as they develop:
1. Providing a balanced diet:
You do not need to deviate from a normal diet to boost your child’s eye health. It just so happens that most healthy foods are good for eyesight development, to begin with:
- Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been shown to help lubricate eyes. Eyes become irritated when dry, which, if left untreated, can lead to cornea damage and permanent vision loss.
- Nuts and seeds: The vitamin E found in these foods can prevent macular degeneration (loss of vision associated with age) and cataracts (cloudy vision).
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are packed with vitamin C, which also plays a role in combating macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Carrots: The most famous source of vitamin A, carrots improves the retina’s ability to absorb light.
- Beef: All that vitamin A does little good if it cannot reach the retina. Zinc, found in beef, can transport vitamin A to where it needs to be.
2. Encouraging visually stimulating toys and games:
To fast-track your child’s visual development, choose toys that work out their eyes without straining them. Bright and moving toys that can captivate their attention are a safe bet. Crib mobiles, stuffed animals, building blocks, and bright balls are all great choices.
As your child grows, continue stimulating their vision by encouraging climbing, running, and other physical activities. Consider grown-up toys like puzzles and modelling clay as well.
3. Protecting their eyes from the sun:
Children’s eyes are particularly sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can irreversibly damage the retina and create blind spots in one’s vision. UV rays have also been linked to corneal sunburn and cataracts.
Protect your child with UV-coated sunglasses and a hat when they are playing outside.
4. Scheduling regular eye exams:
Given that children are still developing their eyesight, making sure that they are on the right track is a no-brainer. Pediatric eye tests are necessary for catching vision problems that commonly affect children, such as strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), and epiphora (blocked tear duct).
Contact an optometrist immediately if your child exhibits any of the following symptoms:
- Constant rubbing of the eyes
- Constant squinting
- Constant discharge or watery eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Permanently tilted head
Improve Your Child’s Eyesight Today
A parent has many options to help their child’s eyesight develop correctly. Chief among those are:
- Providing a healthy diet
- Prioritizing visually stimulating toys and games
- Protecting their eyes from the sun
- Scheduling regular eye exams
To discuss these measures in greater detail or to book an eye appointment, contact our eye doctors at 403-256-0606 or fill out the online contact form below.
When should I have my child’s vision checked?
Young children should receive at least three eye exams before their first year of school: a first eye exam around 6 months of age, a second one at age 3, and a final one right before school starts.
Does my family’s health history matter?
Yes. Some eye conditions can be hereditary. If someone in your family has a history of eye conditions, your child could be susceptible to this condition too.
What is included in the pediatric eye exam?
An eye examination for children usually includes vision testing, eye health evaluation, and eye alignment testing.