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All You Need To Know About Eyes And Eye Care In Kids
The right to see!
CHILDREN GOING TO SCHOOL
“Vision problems affect one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school-age children” (Shroff Eye Vision Screening Program, Mumbai, 2003-4).
“Two to four percent of Indian children develop squinting [cross-eyed] and/or amblyopia [lazy eye]. Early detection and treatment of these diseases in childhood is essential to prevent permanent vision loss.”
In many cases, the child cannot see well out of one eye because it may be a refractive error [spectacle number] only in that one eye. Here the eyes do not work as a team to see. If your child’s brain is unable to receive visual images from that eye, the brain will eventually “shut off” that eye and vision may be permanently impaired. This condition is often not noticed because the child has learned to read with a good eye. An eye examination, where each eye is checked separately, can diagnose this disease.
Eye examinations of pre-school and primary school children are very rarely carried out in India, unless an obvious problem is detected. Often the problem is tackled too late. It is possible to check the eyesight of children who cannot read the alphabet. All children attending the kindergarten must be checked upon entry.
How to spot these common eye problems?
1. Basic eye examination by a pediatrician for every newborn.
2. All premature babies need an eye examination by an ophthalmologist
3. First detailed eye examination for all children aged 6 months; again after 2 years and then annually.
4. School inspections are designed to warn parents of a possible vision problem, but they do not replace a visit to the ophthalmologist. One study found that 11.3 percent of children who passed an eye exam had vision problems that required correction.
5. Detailed eye examination by an ophthalmologist in case of vision impairment.
6. An annual follow-up examination by an ophthalmologist is recommended in order to keep up with your child’s vision needs and to ensure that your child’s glasses prescription is still correct. The visual system develops with your child, so annual prescription changes are common.
Greater risk of developing eye problems at an early age in modern times
“Many pediatric ophthalmologists believe that children’s extensive computer use puts them at risk of early myopia [short sightedness]”Today, the average child spends one to three hours a day at the computer doing homework, chatting with friends online and playing games. Parents already encourage children as young as 2-3 years old to use the computer. Several recent studies have shown that computers can have a negative effect on the child’s vision. They have found that 25-30% of children who use computers need corrective glasses to work comfortably and safely at the computer at home or school See below for tips on how to prevent computer vision syndrome in children.
Tips for daily eye care for children:
1. Diet: A healthy diet with an emphasis on green leafy vegetables, beets, carrots, beets, fresh fruits including mango and papaya are especially rich in vitamin A.
2. Lighting: A light source should be placed behind your child while reading. Avoid direct glare by using shielded light. The reading material should preferably be placed between 12 and 14
an inch away.
3. VDUs or visual display units include televisions and computer monitors.
Headaches, eye strain, burning, watering, blurred vision, double vision, and nausea can all result from prolonged use of VDUs.
Avoid watching TV in a dark room. A well-lit room with white light [tubelight] is ideal.
The recommended viewing distance for watching TV is 4 meters or more.
Place the computer screen at eye level or slightly lower and in such a way that reflections and glare are as little as possible. The recommended distance between the screen and the eye for children is 18-28 inches. When looking at a computer screen closer than 18 inches, children can strain their eyes. Parents and teachers should be aware of any behavior that may indicate problems, such as red eyes, frequent eye rubbing, head turning and other unusual positions, or complaints of blurred or tired eyes. Avoiding the computer can also be a sign of discomfort. Don’t let your child sit in front of a computer screen for more than 40 minutes at a time.
4. Allergies and frequent colds: must be examined and treated. Eye allergies can cause a child to “squint” their eyes, which can become habit forming and lead to permanent corneal abnormalities.
5. Swimming: Waterproof swimming goggles prevent irritation caused by chlorine and reduce the chances of infection.
6. Sports: If your child is involved in ball games and/or contact sports, protective glasses made of polycarbonate are recommended.
7. UV light: Exposure to sunlight is healthy in moderation and helps in the formation of vitamin D in the body. Excessive exposure to bright sunlight is harmful and can cause damage. Wide-brimmed hats and UV-filtering sunglasses provide adequate protection.
8. Using kajal on newborns, washing eyes with plain water, rose water etc. is an absolute NO-NO. Normal tear circulation is sufficient to sufficiently clean the eye of foreign substances.
The gift of sight is very precious. Give your child the best start in life by visiting your eye doctor today.
Common myths for children
Myth about strabismus: “A child’s strabismus should wait until he grows up”
In general, children’s squint should be corrected before the age of 9. This is because, although later cosmetic treatment may be possible, at the age of 9 the child still has poorly developed eyesight due to lazy eyes.
Eye exam timing myth: “Kids don’t need an eye exam until they’re in school”
Wrong. It is recommended that every child’s eyes be checked regularly from birth. Some eye problems, such as crossed eyes or amblyopia (lazy eye), can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye if not detected and treated before a child is five or six years old.
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