Your baby’s eyes are sensitive so they need little attention from you. The best thing about eye care is they don’t call for too much work. All you need to do is follow these simple tips to make sure your baby’s orbs are well taken care off. Also Read - Prevent cognitive decline: Go for routine eye scans if you have type 1 diabetes Also Read - Genes linked to common brain disorder, Chiari 1 malformation, identified
Keep off harsh chemicals and environmental pollutants: Newborns have limited vision. As the days pass, they develop their vision and get to see the world in a better light. Any damage to the eyes at this stage can hamper vision development and give rise to a host of eye troubles. ‘Parents should avoid newborns and young children being exposed to excessive dust, polluted air, chemical vapours, smoke etc. Ensure that your child’s eyes don’t come in contact with irritants that affect them and present them with eye troubles to deal with for the rest of their life,’ says Dr Preeti Patil Chhablani, paediatric ophthalmologist and neuro-opthalmologist, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad. Read to know how your eyes are affected due to pollution and excess heat. Also Read - Best exercises to alleviate eye strain caused by too much screen time
Keep your baby’s eyes clean: During the initial months you may notice a mild yellowish discharge secrete from the corner of the eyes of your new born. ‘This is a common occurrence in infants. Clean your baby’s eyes with clean cotton swabs dipped in warm water, boiled and cooled,’ advices Dr Chhablani. Do not constantly rub your baby’s eyes with tissues or damp cloth.
Be vigilant with what you hand to your baby: As a thumb rule keep sharp objects like pens, pencils, knives, forks and other similar items out of reach of babies and toddlers. ‘Accidental eye injuries are common, even in infancy, and may result in severe visual impairment, take adequate preventive measures,’ says Dr Chhablani.
Check if your baby’s eyes are well aligned: A little squinting or misalignment of eyes is common in the first few months of life. ‘But if you feel your baby is squinting beyond three or four months of age or if the eyes are shaky or wiggly consultation with a paediatric ophthalmologist becomes necessary,’ says Dr Chhablani. Read to know how squint can be treated and corrected.
Keep from applying cosmetic products: As a norm Indian mothers believe that applying khol or kajal would ward off evil spirits and keep eyes healthy. ‘This is a myth. Chemicals in these cosmetic products can cause allergic reactions since your baby’s eyes are very sensitive,’ says Chhablani. Know more about other myths related to eye care.
Check for signs that indicate trouble: Whitish reflex in the pupils instead of normal black shadow, very large eyes, intense watering, redness and yellow discharge, all this should make you concern enough to seek an appointment with the specialist soon.
Keep track of his development milestones: Delayed development can indicate an underlying eye trouble. ‘Delay in achieving motor milestones such as balance of the neck, sitting upright or crawling may indicate an associated visual problem. An eye examination is required so that early intervention can be made possible,’ says Dr Chhablani. Also know why it is important to get your eyes checked regularly.
Help to stimulate vision: ‘When your baby starts crawling, use brightly coloured toys to engage your baby’s attention. This will not only help in vision stimulation but also encourage hand eye coordination.
Maintain a healthy diet: ‘Remember your baby’s diet should have all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Just like the skin or other organs eyes can be damaged by vitamin deficiencies too,’ says Dr Chhablani.
Pay more attention if your baby is prematurely born: If your baby was born prematurely, the risk of developing eye problems is higher. ‘Schedule for an eye examination when your baby is one month of age to make sure there are no retinal problems. After that follow it up with a check up on the sixth or eighth month to look for squint or cross eye,’ says Dr Chhablani.
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