As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your child is to encourage habits and behaviours to promote a lifetime of clear vision. Helping your child keep their eyes healthy isn’t difficult.
Here’s what you can do:
- If your child plays an impact sport, ask the eye doctor about protective eye wear or goggles to avoid injuries to their eyes. Baseball, soccer, racquet sports and other sports that involve fast-moving objects are especially dangerous.
- Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to develop their visual reflexes and hand-eye coordination, like building models or putting puzzles together.
- Make sure your child eats lots of leafy, dark green vegetables, fresh fruit, fish and whole grains to help them get the vitamins and minerals their eyes need for good vision.
- Limit computer time and time watching TV, and make sure kids take a 10-minute break for every 30 to 40 minutes they spend on the computer, watching TV or doing near-work like homework or reading.
- Provide plenty of light for reading, using the computer and watching TV. When reading, have your child hold the book about 30 cm from their eyes, and when on the computer, the screen should be about 50 cm away from the eyes.
- Sometimes children don’t complain; look for signs of vision problems like squinting, learning problems, difficulty reading or using their finger to follow along as they read.
- Invest in sunglasses for your young child to protect their eyes while they’re out in the sun, but be sure they have adequate UV protection. For toddlers or infants, choose a pair that wraps around their head so the glasses don’t fall off during play.
- Make sure your child spends plenty of time outside playing. Natural light is important for good vision and healthy eyes, and especially for preventing myopia.
- Take your child to the eye doctor regularly. Children in school should have an exam every year to make sure they don’t have problems that could interfere with learning. Don’t rely on exams at school – take your child to an eye care professional for a complete exam.
Follow these nine simple steps, and you can help your child enjoy a lifetime of healthy, clear vision.