Parenting Win of the Week: Let’s Talk Kids’ Eye Health
It’s the little things that will keep those little eyes healthy.
We’re two years into this pandemic and I know I have certainly stared at more screens than I care to admit. My kids as well — and it’s not just "screen time." Technology has infiltrated everything we do and for them, that includes their schoolwork. Even back in the classroom, they still utilize a tablet for some parts of their learning.
There is no surprise that myopia (better known as nearsightedness) is on the rise. There is likely no way around this for my own kids as both my husband and I started wearing glasses in elementary school and genetics do play a big role.
But while we are all taking inventory of every aspect of our health as the year starts, I thought I would consult an expert to see if there is truly anything we can do or if it’s all out of our hands.
Good news! There are some things we can do for eye health, even if the cards may already be dealt with genetics. Anita Mistry, the in-house optician for WALDO, a direct-to-consumer eyecare company, gave us a few suggestions — and news flash — you may already be doing some of these things! Here’s what she suggests.
Start Them Young
If your kids are older, you can skip this one. Stimulating kids from birth with high-contrast toys and mirrors helps. As they get older, games that help refine their hand-eye coordination are key.
Eat the Rainbow
Yes, we know that getting some kids to eat vegetables is a feat in and of itself, but eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provides our children with all the nutrients they need to grow and sustain their eye health. It’s not just carrots!
Mistry recommends regular eye exams. "Having regular eye tests helps spot any eye conditions early so they can be evaluated and treated. For example, a squint found early could be treated and corrected to help prevent problems with vision in the future," she says.
Not only do kids look adorable in sunglasses, but they’re also important for their eye health. UV damage is cumulative, so it adds up over the years. Having them wear sunglasses with UV protection and a wide brimmed hat are good habits to get into while they are young.
Limit Console Time
The struggle every parent has. For the sake of their eye health, rotate between screen time and activities where they can get a solid break from any digital screens.
If your kids are already wearing glasses, have them remove their glasses when using handheld consoles.
"This reduces eye strain as the eyes do not have to adjust to allow for the prescription in the spectacles as being nearsighted, the child would be able to see up close," says Mistry. "Removing spectacles when reading a book or doing close tasks helps, too."
Spend Time Outdoors
We know that spending time outdoors is so beneficial, and it is for your eyes as well. Being outdoors allows your eyes to focus on objects farther away. Your breath of fresh air can pull double-duty!
It may be tempting to do more in the dark, but a bright room can help you from straining when doing close-up tasks like reading. A lamp by the bed can help if your child’s room is naturally darker.
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