Back-to-School Tips for Keeping Kids’ Eyes Healthy
Create colorful plates and get moving
Pack plates full of fruits and vegetables like kale, spinach and berries to promote retinal health. Add cold-water fish and nuts to the menu to support good quality tear production. High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes can result in vision loss, but kids who are active and maintain a healthy weight will have a lower risk of developing these.
Watch for squinting
Children may not know the difference between clear and blurry vision. If you notice them squinting, sitting close to the television or closing one eye when reading, they may need glasses.
Protect eyes during the game
Many eye injuries sustained by kids occur while playing sports and can be prevented with the appropriate protective eyewear. Keep your kids’ eyes safe during their extracurricular activities by asking your eye doctor about protective eyewear.
Take screen breaks
Kids should take a screen break to relax their eyes while working on the computer, watching television, and playing on tablets or smartphones. Try the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes have them look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Hands come into contact with germs during the day, especially at school. Encourage kids not to touch their eyes and to keep their hands clean in order to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading an eye infection.
UV light damages the eyes, so choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Children’s eyes do not filter UV light as well as adults’ eyes. Remember: Darker tints do not necessarily mean more protection, and UV exposure is still a risk on cloudy days.
Smoking is just as bad for eyes as it is for the rest of the body. It can increase risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Encourage your kids to say no to smoking.
Know the family tree
Having a family history of eye disease like macular degeneration or glaucoma increases our own risk of vision loss. Talk about your personal and family history with your kids so that they can be better informed about their own eye health.