To draw attention to the importance of the health and safety of children’s eyes, the American Academy of Ophthalmology annually recognizes August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month! This designation gives parents and caregivers everywhere an opportunity to take an extra moment to consider how they can best protect their children’s eyes.
Keep reading to learn seven of the best ways to keep your children’s eyes healthy and safe year-round!
1. Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams can ensure the early detection and treatment of any potential vision problems in children. It is recommended that children have their first eye exam between the ages of three and five and that children older than five have a yearly eye exam.
2. Encourage Healthy Screen Time Habits
Staring at a screen for long periods of time can lead to digital eye strain, which can cause dry eye as well as blurred or double vision. To prevent eye strain, encourage children to take screen breaks every twenty minutes, limit their total amount of screen time, and check to see that they are viewing their screens from a safe distance.
3. Protect Their Eyes from UV Light
Damage from UV light sources, like the sun, is usually cumulative and often does not show up until later in life. Whether at the playground, in the backyard, or on the beach, children should wear sunglasses or eyeglasses with lenses that block UV light or a wide-brimmed hat that completely shades their eyes from the sun.
4. Promote Outdoor Activities
Spending time outdoors and away from screens has been shown to promote eye health in children. Safe exposure to natural light can be beneficial to children’s visual development while also potentially reducing their risk of near-sightedness.
5. Provide Eye Protection for All Their Activities
Whether they are playing sports or engaging in other recreational activities, be sure your children’s eyes are protected. Some examples of eye protection include helmets with face masks for sports like baseball, football, and hockey, goggles for swimming, and safety glasses for activities like woodworking or conducting chemistry experiments.
6. Maintain a Healthy, Eye-Friendly Diet
Eating a healthy diet and maintaining proper nutrition play a vital role in good eye health. Feed your children foods like carrots, oranges, spinach, salmon, and nuts, which provide them with eye health-promoting nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E; zinc; and omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Educate Children About Eye Safety
Let your children play a part in keeping their eyes healthy and safe by teaching them about the importance of eye safety and the potential eye health risks associated with certain activities. This can include:
- Emphasizing the need to avoid pointing objects toward their eyes
- Not rubbing their eyes with dirty hands
- Proper use and handling of contact lenses if they wear them
- Not sharing personal items, like makeup or eye drops
- Being cautious around substances that are dangerous if they come into contact with the eyes.
Let Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month be a helpful reminder about the importance of keeping your children’s eyes healthy and safe. By being aware of potential risks and taking appropriate precautions, you can be sure that your children’s eye are protected all year long!
Are your children due for a routine eye exam? Call one of Shepherd Eye Center’s five family-friendly offices in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, to schedule their next appointment!