The past year has seen kids spending more and more time in front of screens, which can take a toll on their eyesight, health and functionality. Muhammad Irfan Khan, consultant pediatric ophthalmologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, has seven tips for helping parents make sure their children are protecting their eyesight and to help spot any issues early.
Get their eyes checked regularly
Make sure your children visit an ophthalmologist regularly, ideally every 6 months.
Monitor their behavior
Always check to see if they’re facing any discomfort with their vision. Common signs and symptoms to look out for are squinting to focus on certain objects, uncontrollable blinking, or constant rubbing.
Play eye games
Bring back fun eye games that’ll not only make you laugh but bring any sight issues to your attention. Examples include ‘I spy with my little eye’ or ‘Spot the yellow car’ or simple activities like reading car plate numbers.
Limit screen time
Children nowadays spend the majority of their time on electronic devices like iPads, TVs or phones, especially with the increase in remote schooling and home quarantining or self-isolation due to the pandemic. Parents should set limits to when and how often their children sit in front of screens, reduce the brightness, use protective UV lights, and encourage them to focus on non-screen activities/games.
Enforce protective eyewear
Make sure your children are wearing the right eyewear while participating in sports or certain activities to prevent any injuries. That includes goggles when swimming and safety glasses when playing sports.
Remind children not to rub their eyes
Children have the tendency to touch their face often, forgetting that their hands carry lots of germs. Parents should constantly remind their children not to touch their face or rub their eyes and make sure their hands are clean.
Ensure good nutrition
The same foods that keep children healthy also keep their vision in good shape, foods like fish, carrots, greens, nuts, and fruits. Make sure these are sufficiently incorporated into your children’s diet.
This article was contributed by SEHA