Vision is arguably one of the most valuable of our five senses and most will agree that not only is it priceless, it’s also irreplaceable. Guarding our youngster’s eyesight from unnecessary damage or loss is perhaps one of the most challenging of our parental responsibilities. Check out these basic ABC’s when it comes to helping to protect our loved one’s vital vision:
ACTION – And Prevention
If a pound of prevention is worth an ounce of cure, since there’s no remedy for a permanent loss in vision, our best course of action is through preventative care. According to WHO (World Health Organization), 80% of all types of visual impairments are not only treatable, but also preventable.
While people over the age of sixty-five are at the greatest risk for vision loss, an estimated 19 million children under the age of fifteen are visually impaired. Of those, around 12 million have simple refractive errors that are easily diagnosed and correctable with glasses or contact lenses.
With the many different types of vision terminology and treatments that are available today, experts agree that children should have their first eye examination at six months of age and then continue on schedule:
- Before they enter school
- Minimally every two years thereafter
- Annually for those with impairments
Parents should also be aware that the eye screenings performed at many schools are usually done by staff or nurses who may not be specifically trained to perform the more complicated, comprehensive exams by professionals. Typically, these types of basic of screenings can fail to detect over half of vision problems found in youngsters.
BEWARE – Of Sports Injuries
Statistically speaking, over 45,000 people in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for eye injuries and over half of those are children. Many of these conditions occur from sports-related injuries such as contact with a ball or other type of equipment. Youngsters are more prone to this type of trauma due to a lack of fully developed reflexes, strength or coordination due to their age.
Thankfully, wearing the appropriate protection like batting helmets, face masks and goggles reduces the risk of injury by over 90% in most cases. Ensure your children are using adequate devices when they are playing sports and other activities that require protection like yard work or other times their eyes are at risk for injury.
Also, invest in at least one pair of high-quality sunglasses for each member of your family and encourage that children wear them whenever they are outdoors. Ensure that you’re purchasing those brands that can block up to 99% of harmful UV rays that can potentially damage vision.
CARROTS – For Better Eyesight
Many of our parents may have told us some popular old wives’ tales when it comes to our vision, like eating carrots will improve eyesight or help us to see better in the dark. While there is some truth behind these popular myths, modern scientific evidence tells us otherwise. For example, while the vitamin A and beta carotenes found in these orange vegetables are helpful for maintaining vision, it’s more important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to ensure our overall health, including protecting our eyesight.
For more information on guarding against vision loss for your child and the rest of your relatives, check out this infographic, “From Cradle To Cataracts: Eye Care For The Whole Family.”