Eye is the busiest organ as it starts working from the moment you wake up till the moment you close your eyes. Eyes are not only used for seeing but children absorb the world around them through their eyes. Any information that your brain receives is initially processed through your vision. A child’s progress in academics and sports depend widely upon their visual abilities. So it is important to take all required precautionary measures for eye health. You have to know that which food will improve eyesight so that you can add it in kids diet from very beginning.
From reading to writing, from classroom to playground, a child’s eyes are constantly at work. With the ongoing pandemic, kids are not able to attend school and they are sitting at home without friends, screen came to their complete rescue. With a sharp drop in physical movement (outdoor activities), and increased screen time due to online classes and pleasure viewing, leads to many health related concerns especially affecting eyesight. Bad eyesight is most commonly caused by a refractive error like nearsightedness (myopia), foresightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. Below are some reasons for weak eyesight in kids: (what are some common eye disorder in kids?)
Reasons of weak Eyesight in kids:
Too much screen time
Basically screen time is the time your kids spend watching TV and using computers, tablets, and smartphones. However these digital devices can provide endless educational contents and unlimited hours of entertainment, limitless screen time is adversely affecting the eyesight of kids. With the ongoing pandemic, this has become more serious, both kids and adults are spending more and more time using screens for everything from office to school, from entertainment to socializing. (How to reduce kid’s screen time?)
Your genetics can be the reason for your poor eyesight. Kids with a family history of poor eyesight are at higher risk of weaker eyesight than those who don’t have any family history of eye issues.
Eating habits should be taken care of from an early age, as eating low nutrient food can lead to many health issues and weak eyesight is one of them. Take care of your kid’s diet and include some foods that are good for eyes from their early age to avoid weak eyesight.
Just like UV rays affect our skin, it too affects our eyes. Photo keratitis is a type of sunburn on the surface of the eye. So don’t allow your kids to play for long hours under the sun or ask them to wear sunglasses.
Lack of sleep
Sleep affects the overall growth of the child. A decent night’s sleep can make a positive impact on your child’s entire day. If there has been continuous lack of sleep it may cause eye fatigue and strain. Your eyes also get continuous lubrication when you get enough sleep. (How to improve your child’s sleep cycle?)
Studying in dim light
If your child used to study in dim light, it may have the same effect as using a screen for a long time. Eyes have to work harder to focus in dim light and continuously studying and working in dim light leads to weaker eyes. So please take care of the lighting in your kid’s study room.
Rubbing your eyes can break the fragile vessels around the eyes. It may give you a moment of relief but the after effects are really bad. So next time when you feel something in your eyes instead of rubbing, wash it with water or try to blink your eyes rapidly so that tears wash it away.
It is very important to take proper care of your kid’s eyes, especially those under the age of 3 years, as their development is happening rapidly. Following are some tips which can be used to improve eyesight.
Tips to improve weak eyesight
Reduce the screen
Reducing the screen time of your kids is the first step . No screen time before 2 years and after that, 2 hours of screen time, that too for watching educational contents only.
Nutrition is the key for better vision. Since birth, take care of your child’s diet. For this you have to know that which food will improve eyesight of your kids. Make sure you include a lot of Vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and omega 3, as they all support eye health.
Take care of proper lighting in your kids study area so that there is less strain on their eyes.
Ask your kids to take frequent breaks between studying, readings or while using any sort of screen.
Encourage your child to drink a lot of water and wash their eyes with clean water regularly to avoid any infection. (How to keep your child hydrated?)
Regular eye checkup
Get your kid’s eyes checkup in regular interval , this will help you to trace out any problem related to their eyesight.
Along with outdoor exercise which helps to develop muscles responsible for far vision, also engage your child in some indoor eye exercise like make your child focus on pencil tip or asking them to shift their vision from pencil tip to look at a particular number on the calendar repeat this eye shifting exercise for at least 10 times. Next you can ask them to focus on something that is 20 feet away, for say 20 seconds every day. Moving eyes clockwise and anticlockwise also strengthens eye muscles.
If your child continuously complains of headaches or eye pain, constantly rubbing his/her eyes, Redness or tears in the eyes and difficulty in focusing, you must consult an eye specialist. Also add these nutrients and foods from an early age in your kid’s diet to avoid any such situation. These foods also help to improve weak eyesight to a great extent.
Which food will improve eyesight?
Vitamin A plays a crucial role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea, which is the outer covering of your eye. Rhodopsin, a protein present in eyes that helps to see in low light is component of vitamin A. Orange- colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, mangoes, apricot, and sweet potatoes are high in bête-carotene, a form of vitamin A that helps your eyes to adjust them in darkness and improves night vision. It is key to protect your kid from any children’s eye disease. (How to cook vitamin A food to retain nutrition?)
It is a powerful antioxidant that protects eyes against damaging free radicals. It produces collagen which is important for eyes. Connective tissues in eyes are maintained by collagen. It holds them together and protects them, which helps in preventing any kind of eye disorders in children. Citrus fruits like oranges, guava, lemon and vegetables like tomatoes are the major contributors of vitamin C. Broccoli, sprouts, and capsicum are some other rich natural sources of vitamin C. (Easiest food source of meeting 100% Vitamin C requirement)
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects certain parts of the eye. It has been known to lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataract, two age-related conditions. Including almonds, pistachio and walnuts in the child’s diet can preserve his/her eyesight. Studies also show that eating nuts daily is an effective home remedy to control myopia (a condition in which far objects don’t appear clear). (Some easy food sources of vitamin E)
Eye contains high level of zinc. It is also involved in the formation of visual pigments in the retina. Zinc deficiency can result in night blindness. Chickpeas, beans, nuts are some food sources of zinc. (How does zinc help in treating mouth ulcers?)
There are many clinical studies, that omega 3 fatty acids are essential for infant vision development. DHA and other omega 3 fatty acids are found in mother’s milk and also present in some formula milks to support eye development in infants. These essential fatty acids also help to protect an adult’s eye from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Fish, nuts, seeds like chia seeds and flax seeds are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. (Importance of omega 3 for kids)
Antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin
It helps to protect eyes from harmful bright light waves like ultraviolet rays in sunlight by absorbing excess light. Studies suggest that high levels of both in eye tissue can give better vision in dim light. These work to protect eyes from free radicals. Natural food sources of these two are green or yellow vegetables like spinach, carrot. Non vegetarian sources include egg yolks. (Why antioxidants are necessary?)
Herbs like triphala and ginkgo biloba promote better eyesight. Triphala is an ayurvedic formulation made from amla, haritaki and bibhitaki. It is very efficient in treating many eye disorders and improving eyesight. Ginkgo biloba is a strong antioxidant with many benefits, it improves the blood circulation around the eyes and is used in improving conditions for live glaucoma and macular degeneration. (Importance of herbs)
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