Eye is one of the most important sense organs that is capable of receiving visual images which are carried to the brain for any further actions. From the beginning as a child grows, the eye changes quickly Paying attention towards a kid’s eye health can help to catch any problem at the initial stage and can be cured easily. 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, taking care of your kid’s eye health is as important as any other medical issue. Squint eye in babies and kids is one of the common eye problems. Let’s know more about the causes and symptoms of squint in eye in babies and kids and foods that help to strengthen eye muscles in kids.
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What is squint in eyes?
Squint is a condition in which eyes do not align properly or don’t look in the same direction. In medical terms it is known as strabismus. This means that one eye is trying to focus on an object while the other eye either turns inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards. While looking in different directions each eye sends different pictures to the brain. The brain receives different visual messages from each eye and ignores signals coming from weaker one. It is one of the most common eye disorders in children, affecting 4% of kids under the age of six year. The difference may be very slight and may not always be present but, the affected eye may stop processing information and later can result in visual loss (amblyopia) in some cases. Most of the squint in eyes develops before the age of 3 years but it can occur in older children and adults too.
Causes of squints
Squint can be run in family genes. If a parent has a squint, there may be a high chance that their child may also get this condition. It is one of the main reasons for squint eyes in kids
Early born children (premature delivery before 32 weeks) are more likely to develop squint.
Weaken eye muscles
Weaken eye muscles is one of the common reasons for developing squint eye in babies. If the muscles around one eye are weaker than the other both eyes will be unable to work together.
Kids suffering from any head injury can develop squints in their eyes. Any kind of brain injury can result in visual disturbances and can be a reason of squint eye in babies.
Children with some medical conditions such as Down syndrome may also be a cause of squint eye in babies.
Symptoms of squint
Generally kids with squint have no complaints related to eyes or don’t notice any changes in vision. It’s only the other person that may be a family member, teacher or doctor during regular check-ups who can notice that the eyes are not working in the same directions. The clearly visible symptoms which indicates that kid is suffering from squint are:
- One or both eyes are pointing to different directions
- In some cases children may experience double vision. This badly affects a kid’s reading skills and classroom learning.
- Smaller kids who aren’t talking much can be seen tilting their head in an attempt to see more clearly.
- Children with squint ,sometime closes one eye in bright sunlight
Foods that can help to strengthen eye muscles
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 for eye care and necessary to protect your kid from any children’s eye disease.
Also check, How to absorb vitamin A from food?
It is a powerful antioxidant that protects eyes against damaging free radicals and plays an important role for eye care. 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.
Also check, Daily requirement of vitamins
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). It is one of the essential nutrients for eye care.
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. Including them in diet is good for eye care.
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 and play important role for eye care.
Also check, Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
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. For eye care, including these foods in diet is the best and easiest way.
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, strengthening eye muscles 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.
Scientific research on INGREDIENTS FOR Eye Health:
Beta carotene- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: There is convincing scientific evidence that a lack of Lutein and Zeaxanthin from birth impact eye health and weaker eye muscles and vision. Read here.
Triphala: There is wide research on the role of Triphala in improving computer/screen vision syndrome or weaker vision due to family history or otherwise. Read here.
Recipe of Spinach Tofu dish- Great for Eyes
Let’s try to make every food a child want to eat more tasty and nutritious with herbs and nuts.
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