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Top 10 Eye Health Tips for Kids | Kids Eye Gear

Being healthy is important for all aspects of your body and that includes your eyes! There are several ways you can help your child keep healthy happy eyes from birth to their teens. Instilling healthy habits from a young age can help ensure your child takes these habits into their adult years.

1. Eat Healthy Everyday

You are what you eat, so why not eat a healthy well-balanced diet for healthy eyes and body. Start with lots of veggies and fresh fruit, whole grains and low-fat milk. Choose lean meats, poultry, and fatty fish. Include nuts, beans, and eggs. Try to avoid too much sugar, additives and any pre-packaged foods which are high in sodium and low in nutrition. Start your child young with a mix of healthy food options, encouraging them to make smart food choices as they get older. The best way to eat healthy is to stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options and leave the sweets as the occasional treat.

2. Play Safe with Toys

Most toys come with an age range on the box. Choose toys that are age appropriate, especially when they are young and everything goes in their mouth, which is close to their eyes! As they grow, watch out for cheaply made toys which don’t necessarily adhere to safe play guidelines. Friends and family may not always adhere to age guidelines, but you can always save an advanced toy for later when they can enjoy it safely. Watch your young child while they play and teach them eye safety as they grow.

3. Get Regular Eye Tests

It is so important to take your child for regular eye tests. So many children go undiagnosed for eye problems because they don’t complain about it or it’s not visibly noticeable by the parent. Children are highly adaptable and will get by with poor sight, because they don’t know any better. Getting yearly eye checks encourages proper eye health and can help catch any issues before they get too big.

4. Challenge Their Eyesight

You can help your child develop strong healthy eyesight by providing visually stimulating toys and activities. These can be as simple as black and white images from birth, brightly coloured building blocks as a toddler and any activity that encourages hand and eye coordination as they grow.  In our age of technology, iPads and tablets can provide many educational apps for children, just remember to set a limit on screen time and to take ‘eye breaks’. The rule of 20-20-20 is a great. Take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds and look at something 20 metres away.

5. Slip Slop Slap and Slide

Growing up in Australia we have all been ingrained with Slip, Slop, Slap, which encourages us to “slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat”. There’s a new updated version which has eye health in mind, and we love it. Now Aussie kids are being taught, “slip, slop, slap, seek & slide”, which adds Seek Shade and Slide on Sunnies. Research shows that 29% of kids aged 9-11 had eye damage from the sun – and this reached 81% in 12-15 year-olds. Given that Australia has one of the highest UV rates in the world, this information isn’t surprising.  Play it safe in the sun and don’t forget sunnies for your child’s eyes. For more information on how important sunglasses are, head to this blog post

6. Remember Protective Eye Gear

Eye injuries in children can occur from many things and can result in injury from a foreign body, chemical exposure, black eye or blunt injury. Keeping safe toys for your child can avoid eye injuries but eyes can be in danger at other times too. Remembering protective eye wear for sports, around chemicals or in hazardous areas can help keep eyes safe and healthy. Choose appropriate goggles for sports like swimming, biking, and ball sports. Always put protective eyewear on your child when around chemicals, doing science experiments, or helping mum and dad with jobs around the house. 

See our blog post on kids safety glasses here

7. Get Outside

Your body is basically like a house plant. Your child needs water, sunlight, and fresh air to grow up healthy and strong. The great outdoors is perfect for encouraging healthy life habits and is full of opportunities for happy eye health. Low levels of outdoor activity, low levels of light exposure and prolonged near tasks such as reading, computer work and gaming are shown to be contributing to what some researchers are calling the ‘myopia epidemic’. Being outside allows the eyes to focus on objects other than on a screen, and your normal home surroundings. It allows for depth perception practice and shape recognition too.

8. Take Your Vitamins

Children generally absorb vitamins and minerals better than adults, so they don’t always require the same supplements as we do. Some vitamins are known for aiding in great eyesight though, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Zinc. Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, are well known for their great eye benefits. If your child has a specific eye problem, your doctor may prescribe vitamins and supplements to take such as glucosamine, a multi vitamin or lutein. Always check with your doctor before giving any supplements to children.

9. Don’t Forget Water

According to healthdirect.gov.au, babies need 0.7 to 0.8 litres of fluid per day from breast milk or formula, while children need between 4 cups (for 1-year-olds) and 6 to 8 cups per day (for teenagers). When it comes to choosing fluids, water is best. Dehydration can lead to many health problems, including problems with vision, such as dry and itchy eyes. Teach your child to start the day with a glass of water and always take a refillable water bottle when you are on the go.

10. Set a Good Example

Children are great imitators. Monkey see, monkey do. The best way to make sure your child takes the best care of their eyes is to do the same yourself. Eat healthy meals together, book eye exams together, and let them see you making good eye health choices too. Don’t forget your sunnies and hat when you go outside and continually talk about eye health and overall health together as a family.

 

Building healthy habits together is a great way to promote long lasting health for you and your child.

Top 10 Eye Health Tips For Kids

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