World Sight Day 2020: These Useful Tips Can Help Maintain Your Child's Eyesight
World Sight Day 2020: It is important to maintain healthy vision in children. Excess use of screens without any precaution can lead to poor vision. Here are some tips to maintain your child's eyesight.
World Sight Day 2020: Restrict the use of gadgets with screens in children for healthy vision
- Excess use of gadgets an affect eyesight in children
- Limit the use of screens to protect vision
- Add vitamin A to your kid's diet for healthy vision
World Sight Day 2020: Childhood is the formative stage of human life. Good vision is essential for optimal mental, social and physical development of children. Almost all the academic knowledge gained by children during this stage is through visual tools. There interaction with peers, language growth and social connectedness also greatly depends on clear vision. There is evidence to suggest that children with poor vision have considerable disadvantage in academic performance and sports equally. On the occasion of world sight day 2020, here are some tips from Dr. Sandeep Buttan that can help ensure healthy eyesight in children.
World Sight Day 2020: How to maintain healthy eyesight in children
Increased Use of technology in children
Under the present circumstances, there is an alarming increase in the engagement of children with various forms of digital technology. Whether, it is for attending modified academic session or social occasions, digital interactions have become the norm. Although the exact numbers are not available, but it is estimated that children on average could be spending anywhere between 3-6 hours in front of various video devices.
These can not only have detrimental impact on the health of the eyes, but also other aspects of physical and emotional health of the children. The eyes can increasingly become more fatigued and uncomfortable after long sessions in front of the screen. There are also indications that prolonged screen exposure coupled with reduced outdoor activities is leading to progression in the glass numbers (myopia) in children. There may also be other symptoms like head, neck or back pain, increased irritability, reduced appetite and improper sleep. Social or emotional alteration may also be noticed depending upon the content viewed.
Steps to keep eyesight healthy in children including both diet and lifestyle changes
Due to the newly imposed challenges of the pandemic, there is a need to create new set of eye health practices for children and adults alike. Developing a daily or weekly routine for children that includes all elements of academics, creativity, physical exercise and social interactions is critical. Defined waking up and bedtime hours go a long way in setting the biological clocks in kids that keeps them healthy. As for the exposure to digital screens, there need to be strict rules such as
- Regulated hours limited to only essential school related work and other planned pleasure activities.
- Proper sitting arrangements for the child during screen viewing so that there is at least 18 to 24 inches distance between the screen and the eyes.
- Frequent breaks during viewing session are recommended. A 20 second break every 20-30 minutes, where the child is asked to look away form the screen and consciously blink their eyes.
- Sufficient hydration (water and low sugar drinks) and fresh fruits also help keep the eyes healthy.
In case the child does report symptoms such as watering from the eyes and / or headache with or without blurring of vision, a visit to the ophthalmologist is warranted. For children already using glasses, they must use these regularly as advised by their doctors and get a fresh refraction (checking of the glass number) done if the current one is more that 6-8 months old.
(Dr Sandeep Buttan is an ophthalmologist and global technical lead, Eye Health ASIA at Sightsavers)
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