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HomeHealth & FitnessKeep your child’s eyesight in check with these expert-approved tips

Keep your child’s eyesight in check with these expert-approved tips

Your child’s eyesight is of paramount importance. Good vision helps them take in the world around them and is essential for the optimal development of children. Parents and caregivers can ensure that their child’s vision remains nurtured and protected through various proactive measures.

Understanding the prevalent eye conditions faced by children and essential steps for safeguarding their eyesight can help a child’s overall growth and learning ability.

According to Dr Priyanka Singh, Consultant & Eye Surgeon, Neytra Eye Centre, New Delhi, eye diseases are very common in children as they are unable to tell the problems they are facing with their vision. If not treated on time, these gradually become a permanent disease, and the child has to carry it throughout their life.

Some common eye diseases present in children, as per Dr Singh are:

*Refractive error and lazy eye: If a child has refractive error (near sightedness, far sightedness or both), they will be unable to see clearly. This error can be corrected with suitable spectacles, however, if not corrected on time, the brain senses this blurred vision as the final vision, which after a certain time can lead to lazy eye or amblyopia.

*Squint (crossed eyes): It occurs in about 1 to 4 per cent of children and mostly becomes evident within 3 to 4 years of age. In this, either one of both the eyes are turned inward or outward. This can occur due to refractive errors or non-refractive error reasons (due to muscles and nerve misalignment).

*Allergic conjunctivitis: There has been an increase in the incidence of eye allergies in children due to high levels of pollution, pollens and increased screen time. This causes itching and rubbing of eyes, leading to occasional redness and rise in the incidence of eyelid and eye infections.

*Cataract: It is a rare condition in children leading to visual loss, which can be fully corrected by cataract surgery. If not done at the right time, it leads to amblyopia (lazy eye) and permanent blindness.

*Blocked tear duct: It is a condition present early in life (mostly just after birth, characterised by watering and discharge from eyes due to blockage of tear duct. At early stages, the blockage can be opened by eye massage only. In later stages, it needs surgical intervention to open the blockage. Thus, it is best to consult an oculoplastic surgeon as soon as possible for the best outcome.

Tips for protecting your child’s vision

eye health Understanding the prevalent eye conditions faced by children and essential steps for safeguarding their eyesight can help a child’s overall growth and learning ability. (Source: Freepik)

Your child’s vision health affects how well they can see, learn and enjoy life. Here are some measures you can take to protect your child’s eyes and their developing vision, according to Dr Singh:

1. Eat healthy: A diet rich in vitamin A, D and antioxidants keeps most of eye problems at bay. So, children should be given lots of green and colourful veggies, fruits and nuts, in their diet.

2. Limit screen time: Screen time should be minimised as follows: Children less than 2 years should have no screen time, 2 to 5 years should have maximum 1 hour of screen time daily, and 5 years and above should have maximum of 1.5 to 2 hours of screen time every day. Additionally, children should be encouraged to play outdoors.

3. Keep an eye on warning signs: If something does not appear right, then consult an ophthalmologist immediately.

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4. Regular eye exams: Get your child’s first eye checkup before they start school (around 3 to 4 years) and routine eye checkups yearly thereafter.

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Most importantly, Dr Singh said to talk to your children, give them time, listen to their problems and act accordingly.

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