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Gone are the days when kids spent most of their time outdoors. Today, the situation looks rather different — they are glued to smartphones or other screens, more so after the Covid-19 pandemic took over our lives. Whether it is for online education or leisure, this puts unnecessary strain on their eyes. So, is there any tip that can help?
Dr Ashwani Seth, Ophthalmologist, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Karol Bagh, Delhi, tells HealthShots about it. “Sunbathing can improve vision in children. Those children who are outside and get exposed to daylight may have a lower risk of developing nearsightedness. Did you know that the bright outdoor light helps the children’s developing eyes to maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina, and keep the vision in focus. Stare at the sun for 15 minutes for better vision. Try to opt for sunbathing,” he shares.
“Did you know that eating certain foods will help the child to improve vision. Yes, that’s right! Try to include foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Green leafy vegetables are abundant in vitamin A, and also contain other vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamins C and B12 that are good for the eyes,” adds Dr Seth.
Your child must eat spinach, broccoli, and kale. Other colourful vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta-carotenes and keep the retina healthy. Pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, and peanuts are packed with vitamin E and reduce the risk of myopia in children. Whole grains contain eyesight-friendly nutrients like niacin. Eggs have lutein, an antioxidant that fights macular degeneration.
Along with a well-balanced diet, it is also imperative to exercise on a daily basis. Doing so can help the child to keep the blood and oxygen flowing throughout the body, and enhance eye health.
“If your child is not exercising yet, make him/her do that right away! Exercising will surely be beneficial in keeping the vision intact. Apart from regular workouts, eye exercises can also do the trick and enhance vision. Speak to an expert about the eye exercises that are suitable for your children,” advises Dr Seth.
“Is your child addicted to electronic gadgets like smartphones? You will have to be cautious and limit the child’s screen time. It is a no-brainer that constantly playing video games, watching videos, and texting friends exposes your child to blue light, which can lead to digital eye strain. So, make sure that the child doesn’t expose himself/herself to these gadgets for more than the recommended time,” explains Dr Seth.
Set a time limit for the children and make sure they follow the instructions carefully. If the child is using an electronic gadget, see to it that he/she takes frequent breaks.
Do you skip the routine eye check-ups of your children? Do not take it lightly! It is the need of the hour to take your children to an expert after every six months to check their eyesight.
“If your child complains of headaches, and distorted vision, he or she could be having symptoms of myopia (nearsightedness), or hyperopia (farsightedness), or amblyopia that is lazy eye. Get it evaluated properly by an ophthalmologist. Do not neglect all these red flags as they can lead to serious eye problems in the future,” concludes Dr Seth.