Paying careful attention to your child's eye health can help catch vision problems early. Keep your child's eyes healthy from birth through the teen years with the eye health and safety tips below.
How Can I Help My Baby Develop Good Vision?
Help your baby develop good eyesight by:
- Talk to your baby as you move about the room. This will encourage him to follow you with his eyes.
- Hang a mobile above your baby's crib to encourage hand-eye coordination.
- Place a toy on the floor within the focus of your baby's eyes – usually 8 to 12 inches away.
- Promote good hand-eye coordination by encouraging your baby to crawl. Set a favorite toy barely out of reach so the baby must focus and move to grab it.
- Watch your baby to make sure they are following moving objects with their eyes. If their vision development seems delayed, talk to your child's pediatrician.
How Can I Help My Toddler or School-Aged Child Develop Good Vision?
Encourage healthy eyesight in children by providing visually stimulating toys. They will encourage good motor and hand-eye coordination.
The best children's toys to promote healthy vision include:
- Building blocks or Legos
- Drawing tools like crayons, chalk, and markers, and a coloring book or paper
- Finger paints
- Modeling clay or Play-Doh
- Stringing beads
How Can I Protect My Child's Vision?
Limit Screen Time
Computer eye strain has been linked to early myopia in children. Prolonged computer, tablet, and e-reader use forces your child to focus for long periods, which can stress the eyes. Also, make sure your child's workstation is set up correctly to fit their small size.
Symptoms of too much screen time include:
- Dry or red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye twitching
- Eye rubbing
- Watery or tearing eyes
Use Protective Eyewear
Sports glasses will protect your young athlete's eyes from fast-moving balls and from flying dirt and dust.
- Baseball and soccer mean fast-moving balls.
- Basketball involves contact with players' arms and elbows, which can come in contact with eyes.
- Competitive swimming requires waterproof swim goggles.
Shatter-resistant sports eyeglasses or goggles are essential to protecting your child's eyes during sports.
Sunglasses aren't just for adults. Help your child pick out a pair of quality, UV-blocking sunglasses. Encourage your child to wear them year-round while outdoors.
Encourage Your Child to Play Outdoors
Recent studies have found that children who spend more time outdoors have a significantly lower onset of new myopia (nearsightedness). So, it's a good idea to encourage your kids to spend more time outdoors and take a break from screened devices.
Have Your Child's Eyes Examined Regularly
Finally, schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child before the beginning of each school year.
If you believe your child has a vision problem, make an appointment with a pediatric optometrist soon.