Children require a lot of care. Most parents make sure the fingernails are clipped, the sunscreen is slathered on, the cut is covered with Neosporin and a bandage. With so much to think about, it’s no wonder that a lot of times parents forget to take care of and teach their children to care for a small but important part of the body: the eyes.
Your children will only get one pair of eyes for their lifetime, so it’s important to teach them to properly care for them. Here are four ways you should remember when dealing with your child’s eyes:
1) Wear Eye Protection. According to the Children’s Hospital of LA, eye injuries that occur in sports are the leading cause of blindness in school age children. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AA0) recommend that children and adolescents should wear eye protection when playing contact sports, including sports like baseball and basketball.
And there’s another type of eye protection that shouldn’t be overlooked: sunglasses. Teach your children to wear sunglasses whenever they’re going to be outside and the sun is out, regardless of the time of year. Make sure the sunglasses they wear are both UVA and UVB protected.
2) Keep Your Hands Out of Your Eyes. Kids touching or rubbing their eyes is one of the main ways that germs and the yucky bugs they carry like the flu and pink eye are transmitted into the body. Teach your child from an early age to keep their hands out of their eyes and to regularly wash their hands well with warm, soapy water. In particular, teach them to always wash their hands when entering the house, after using the bathroom, and before eating.
3) Eye Exams are Important. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children receive a comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist every two years. While the screenings provided by schools and pediatric offices may detect vision problems, their effectiveness is limited. A comprehensive eye exam performed by a specialist is the only way to ensure that any vision problem or eye health issue is properly diagnosed. Teach your children that, just like their pediatrician, their optometrist is a partner in caring for their health.
4) Eat Well For Healthy Eyes. Just like the rest of the body, the eyes benefit from a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and that is low in “bad” fats, such as the ones found in packaged foods like cookies and potato chips. Dark, leafy greens are especially good for the eyes. While it may be hard to explain to your child that such dietary choices may help prevent conditions like macular degeneration later in life, it’s not hard to teach them that healthy foods equal healthy eyes.
Teaching your children to care for their eyes is an important part of teaching them to care for their body. Make the most of your children’s visit to the ophthalmologist by asking your eye doctor to share other tips with your children about how to best care for their eyes. Accent on Eyes is committed to providing quality eye care to both adults and children. Contact our Gainesville office today to schedule an appointment.