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Kids' Vision: What Parents Need to Know
Approximately 12 million children suffer from some form of vision impairment. Your child's eyes should be examined during regular pediatric checkups, and vision testing should be conducted for all children starting around age three.
Sports and Protective Eyewear
In many cases, accidents and injuries cause eye damage. The key is to guard against a potential eye injury before it occurs. With sports being the leading cause of eye injuries in children, they should wear protective eyewear when participating in all sports and recreational activities.
Basketball, football, hockey, baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, and water sports can all be dangerous to the eyes. Each sport requires a different type of protective eyewear, so consult an ophthalmologist or other eye care professional for help determining what type your child needs.
Computers and Kids
There doesn't appear to be any link between excessive computer use and long-term vision problems. However, short-term eye discomfort can be caused by excessive computer use. If your child complains of tired eyes or eye fatigue, limit their computer time to schoolwork only, and have your child's eyes checked out by an eye care professional.
Spotting a Problem
Good vision is important for a growing child's proper development and educational success.
If you think your child has a vision problem, tell your doctor right away. Starting treatment early can help stop your child from losing their sight.
Your child may have vision trouble if they are:
- Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding things close to the face to see them
- Squinting or tilting the head to see better
- Frequently rubbing their eyes when not sleepy
- Crossing one eye or moving their eyes back and forth
- Unable to focus on someone as they walk across a room
- Excessively tearing up
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
How to Help Children Care for Their Eyes
- Teach them to walk carefully with sharp objects such as scissors, pens, pencils, and rulers.
- Make sure they use good lighting to avoid tiring their eyes when reading, writing or cruising the Internet.
- Ensure they’re wearing proper eye protection when playing sports such as baseball and basketball.
- Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
- To avoid eye infections, make sure they don’t share eye makeup or eye drops with anyone.
- Teach them to use caution when using an aerosol can like bug spray, hair spray, or WD40, and turn the pointer away from their faces before spraying.
- Have them wear sunglasses that block UV radiation from the sun when outside.
- Ensure they wear a helmet when biking, skateboarding, or rollerblading.
- Let them know they should talk to you, a school nurse, or teachers if their eyes are bothering them.
- Give them carrots for a snack. It’s true that carrots are good for eyesight because they’re rich in Vitamin A (carotene). They’re also a good source of fiber, low in calories, and help kids grow and fight infections.