Maintain Your Child’s Eye Health

Research shows that children who have a vision problem literally lose focus on their work and this can affect their performance and development, as a result. Here are three steps for healthy school-ready vision.

1. Manage screen time for kids

Tablets and smartphones can help with hand-eye coordination and for the stimulation of neurons in the brain. However, they also have bright screens and these can create side effects such as dryness of the eyes, eyestrain, blurry vision, focusing issues, and headaches. Kids stare at screens intensively and don’t blink as much while using devices and so tears don’t spread across the eyes leading to dryness. Parents should try to limit the screen time for kids to no more than 20 minutes at a time to protect the eyes and vision of their children.

2. Outdoor time is great vision

Recent research from Canada shows that children who spend more time outdoors may reduce their risk of developing nearsightedness. Children seem to be becoming near-sighted at younger ages, around 6 to 7 years, rather than 12 to 13 as their eyes are constantly focusing on objects that are very close to them. The Canadian study shows that for each additional hour of outdoor time per week, the risk of a child developing myopia drops around 14 percent – this may be due to the brighter light outdoors and the fact that there is more to look at outdoors, so the eyes are working harder.

3. Early and regular eye tests for children

Most causes of poor vision are easily correctable if they are picked up and treated in time. A child’s eyesight does not fully develop until the age of nine and if a condition like amblyopia (cross eyes or squint) or lazy eye (which can lead to permanent vision loss) is diagnosed early enough, the better the chances of successful treatment and complete recovery. Early vision screening is very important and children’s vision should ideally be tested by the age of three or four. Nursery schools should also check children’s eyesight, and notify parents if they suspect anything.

(Credit: Dr. Darakhshanda Khurram, Consultant Pediatric Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai)