Our eyes continue to develop until around the age of 8 and there are several ways that you can help protect the development of your child’s eyes in these early years.
Protecting their senses helps them to learn, play and communicate with the world around them and can lay the foundations for good vision.
In these early years, diet is key in providing kids’ eyes with all the nutrients they need to grow in a healthy way. Think of it as “eating a rainbow”, with an array of colourful fruit and vegetables which are packed with eye-friendly nutrients. A good mix of grapes, blueberries and tomatoes, as well as fish and eggs, can help form healthy eyes!
It’s always important to protect your eyes from the sun. However for children, it’s even more vital as a child’s eye allows more sunlight in. This can be really damaging, so bear in mind some key ways to keep kids’ eyes protected:
• Never wear toy sunglasses. It is likely that they provide almost no UV protection. In reality they can be more damaging to the eye than wearing no sunglasses at all, by dilating the pupil and allowing more UV into the eye.
• Make sure their sunglasses fit. To be fully protected, it’s vital that the eyes and the area around them are fully covered. A hat, cap or visor can help with an extra bit of protection.
• For adequate UV protection, make sure to pick out sunglasses with a CE; UV 400 or British Standard Mark. Visit your optician for the best advice on selecting fully-protective, well-fitting sunglasses.
• If you’re unsure when a child should be wearing sunglasses, visit the Met Office website for details of UV levels. If the UV Index rises to 3 or above, make sure to wear UV protecting sunglasses. Remember also that your eyes are at the greatest risk of UV when your shadow is taller than you are. This is because the natural protection offered by your brow bone is no longer provided.
• If your child wears glasses or contact lenses day-to-day, make sure to check that their lenses provide UV protection.
Outdoor play has been proven to have great benefits to eye health. According to Eye Health UK, evidence suggests that spending two hours or more outside per day can play a role in reducing the risk of short-sightedness, even in families where there is a history of the condition.
While these simple tips can help you make a huge contribution to the healthy development of your child’s eyes, remember that as your Opticians, we are here to offer any additional advice you need.