For all of us, in particular young children, eye care is vital for maintaining good vision and preventing infection. Here are some of the top ways you can help your family take care of their eyes:
1. A newborn baby needs extra-special eye care, to keep them clean and healthy and to prevent any developmental issues. Clean your baby’s eyes once a day using a soft washcloth, gently wiping the eyes from the inside to outside corners with warm water. Always use a clean part of the cloth for each eye.
2. Make sure you and your children are having regular eye checks. There are a number of solutions available for the whole family, from spectacles for children to contacts and even laser surgery for adults. Good vision is important for everybody, so ensure you lead by example and keep your checks up-to-date!
3. Restrict TV and PC time. Children who spend most of their time in front of a screen are far more likely to require glasses later in life, as reading or watching something so close can train the eye to become short-sighted. Encourage outdoor activities to allow the eyes to adjust to long distances.
4. Teach older children about the importance of eye care, to ensure they understand the reasons behind check-ups and certain restrictions. Eye care can be difficult to keep up with children, so getting them on your side and making sure they understand is crucial!
5. Regular swimmers are at a higher risk of eye infections and irritations, due to the particles in fresh water and the chemicals in some pools. Keep the whole family safe with well-fitted goggles, which will allow children to see without exposing the eye to too much water.
6. If your children are especially involved with sports at school, consider investing in protective eyewear, especially if they have had problems in the past.
7. Children may not always tell you if they are having difficulty seeing, so look out for tell-tale symptoms of vision problems, such as sitting too close to the television, squinting while reading, or frequent headaches.
8. If your child has an eye infection, wipe with warm water from the inside to outside corner. Be firm in order to remove any build-up or discharge in the eye, but never attempt to clean under the eyelid, as this can damage the cornea.
9. Be encouraging about glasses. It’s difficult enough to get children to wear them without worrying about jokes or remarks, so ask family and friends to be sensitive. Point out the positives, and highlight how much more your child can do with the glasses on.
10. Ensure your family have a vitamin-rich diet, to reduce the chances of deficiency. Vitamin A is particularly good for developing eyes, so make sure children have lots of leafy vegetables, and plenty of fresh fruit. Carrots are famously good for eyesight, and are popular lunchbox snacks!