Good eye health and clear vision are very important for the overall development of children. There’s an alarming increase in the number of children suffering from eye problems these days. Diagnosing and treating them early are critical to maintaining a child’s eye health. The most common problem ophthalmologists encounter in their practice are uncorrected refractive errors which fall under three categories – myopia (short-sightedness), hypermetropia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism (cylindrical error). All these refractive errors can be corrected by wearing glasses or lenses, although only children above 11-12 should wear lenses. 

Spotting problem with eye problems

It’s easy to spot children who have eye problems even if they don’t complain about it. Mostly they will have trouble reading the blackboard, headaches, watering eyes, display attention deficit and/or withdrawal behaviour. 

So why are more and more children suffering from eye problems?

We will have to blame our changing lifestyles, rapid urbanisation and daily habits. Earlier, most kids spent at least a few hours playing outside but these days most of their time is spent playing on computers or smartphones or video game consoles. They are constantly focussed on computer or mobile screens. Our eyes are not used to that kind of pressure and it’s causing eye problems among more and more children.

How often should one go for eye-check ups? 

It is recommended that you take your kid for an eye check-up one year after their birth and get their eyes tested at least once every two years unless there’s any abnormality. In case your child has a vision aberration kindly follow your doctor’s advice. 

Foods to improve eye health in children

A healthy nutritious diet is essential for the eye. Green leafy vegetables, spinach, carrots, papaya, mangoes, fishes and cod liver oil – all these items are rich in Vitamin A and help improve health of the retina.