A recent survey showed that approximately 30% of kids between the ages of 6 and 17, are in need of some sort of corrective eyewear, like glasses or contact lenses. That means that your child could have a 1-in-3 chances of needing some sort of aid to help them see better. Girls have shown an even higher probability of having an eye condition than boys, which means that if you have a daughter, the odds of her needing corrective eyewear is even higher. Knowing these facts, there are certain preventive measures which parents can take to strengthen their daughter's eyesight, and reduce the chances that they'll need glasses or contact lenses.
Consume a lot of foods with high contents of vitamin A. Certain vegetables can be very instrumental in improving the overall health of your eyes. Specifically, foods that have a lot of vitamin A in them, which includes leafy greens: kale, spinach, and collard greens, as well as carrots. Eggs are a protein that are high in vitamin A nutrients. Fish that have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, can also aid in maintaining eye health. Making sure that your daughter has a balanced diet which includes these foods, can sharpen vision and slow down vision loss.
Spend time outside. If a child is born to two nearsighted parents, their chances of needing corrective eyewear are higher, about 60%. The good news is that this high number represents a child who spends little to no time outdoors. Spending roughly 14 hours a week outside, can have a dramatic impact on this genetic predisposition, and bring it down to about a 20% chance of needing glasses or contact lenses. Making sure that your child gets outside to enjoy themselves throughout the week, may be all that's needed to reduce their odds of needing corrective eyewear.
Protect her eyes from the sun. Making sure that your daughter has sunglasses with the proper amount of UV protection in them, when you are out in the sun, is vital. This will help to keep the sun's powerful rays from harming their eyesight.
Keep her face and hands clean. Washing your hands and face, since you often touch your face (which includes your eyes), on a regular basis, can help prevent damage to your eyes from foreign substances. For girls particularly, keeping cosmetics and chemicals out of the eyes, can also help to maintain good eye health.
Exercise regularly. Aside from other numerous health benefits, being active physically can enhance the circulation of your blood and oxygen flow to your eyes. This can help to decrease dry eyes, which can reduce irritation and strain that lead to vision impairment.
Take breaks from screen time. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends, that if you spend a lot of time looking at a screen; like a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet that you need to take regular breaks. How regular? The recommendation is 20/20/20 which means that you should look 20 feet away from your screen, every 20 minutes for 20 seconds at a time. This helps to prevent digital eye strain, which can cause eye fatigue, headaches, neck tension, and decreased vision. It's doubtful that your child will properly regulate their screen time so as a parent, you'll have to make sure to encourage them to separate from their devices.
Get enough sleep. When you're sleepy, you may find yourself rubbing your eyes more or blinking often. This is because when you're tired, your eyes become easily strained. Making sure that your daughter is getting enough sleep, means that she'll experience less straining of her eyes, which can help to improve vision.
Obtain regular eye exams. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), the best way to make sure that your eyes are healthy, is to get them checked often. How often? Once a year. If your daughter does have a vision problem, an eye exam can identify the problem early, help to correct it and prevent further damage.
It's not exactly clear why more kids are needing corrective lenses now, than in generations before. This increase in the use of corrective eyewear among children, could be attributed to a multitude of things. Parents, now, tend to be more proactive than their parents were before, which may help them to diagnose an issue earlier. Whereas, in previous generations, they may have gone unnoticed for years. With the invention of phones and tablets in addition to TV, kids are being exposed more to screens which puts extra strain on their eyes. At the same time, this increased screen time has them staying inside more often, which furthers the damage. Whatever the cause, as a parent you are not helpless, and there are many things which you can do to reverse these effects.