Children are not able to know if something is wrong with them. Unless they are ill or hurt, they remain reckless and disregard safety measures. Eyes are delicate organs and if any damage occurs, treating them is not easy. Some of the most common eye conditions that affect children include Amblyopia or Lazy eye, Binocular vision anomalies, Diplopia or double vision, Neuro Ophthalmology, Paralytic squints, Pediatric cataracts, Progressive myopia and refractive errors in children.
Most of the above conditions can be prevented using the following tips:
1. Avoid using sharp and hard toys
Games that seem harmless like board games can accidentally hurt the eyes. Even an accidental movement of someone’s hand or any other slightest mistake is enough to cause damage. However, if the object or the toy is soft and blunt, the damage would be minimal and won’t hurt the eye permanently. A sharp object, on the other hand, is extremely risky.
2. Don’t use eye cosmetics
Some people insist on putting soorma or kajal in their child’s eyes because it looks pretty or because it is a tradition. However, the materials used in kajal are usually not safe for the eyes of young children. Even if the product is high-quality, it will contain some unsafe chemicals. If the child’s eyeball comes in contact with these chemicals, it can affect their eyesight.
3. Stop them from rubbing the eyes constantly
Whenever there is irritation in the eye, the first reflexive action is rubbing it. However, this only aggravates the situation. The external body that is present in the eye will rub against the eyeball more. If the hands are unclean, it could transfer bacteria and germs resulting in an eye infection. In case the child has conjunctivitis, rubbing the eye can worsen it. It is important to teach the child to stop themselves from rubbing their eyes and instead, use water for cleaning the eye the right way.
4. Decrease exposure to digital devices
Digital screens and devices in all sizes and shapes are almost unavoidable. Children love playing games on a computer, watching videos on mobile phones, etc. They sit for hours in front of a screen. As a result, their eyes have to focus constantly on a specific point. This can lead to the degradation of eyesight and vision problems at a young age.
5. Maintain a balanced diet
In order to ensure the proper growth of eyes and body, a healthy diet is a must. Iron-rich foods and green leafy vegetables develop sharp eyesight. Fruits like mangoes, papaya, others that are yellow in colour have a good amount of beta-carotene, which helps in eyesight development.
6. Give break to the eyes
Eyes also need rest. In the case of children, they are looking at a screen for school, staring at notebooks and books, and then playing video games in the evening. This can put a lot of stress on the eyes. It is important that they get enough rest at night. Parents can try replacing evening activities with something that doesn’t require eyes to focus like playing physical games, taking a walk in the park, or listening to music.
Eyes are the window to the world. Just by seeing and observing things around them, kids can gain a lot of information. That is why it is important to take good care of them and undertake regular checkups to avoid eye-related problems.
Dr. Srikanth Ramasubramanian
Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Alwarpet