October 8, 2020 9:40:46 am
By Dr Vikas Satwik
It is common for children to go through vision problems during their schooling. Almost every child would’ve heard their parents yell at them to eat their vegetables and stay away from the television screen before they ruin their eyesight.
Some of the most common problems found among school-going children are blurry vision, refractive error (myopia) caused by nearsightedness, farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism resulting in blurry vision. Children who go to school need vision skills like visual acuity, eye focusing, eye tracking, eye teaming, eye-hand coordination, visual perception, recognition, comprehension and retention.
Signs of an eye problem
It is stressful for every child to focus on reading and studying when they experience an eye problem. It is difficult for them to concentrate and remember the things that they have studied. They try their best however their efficiency remains compromised. Here are a few signs that your child is facing problems with their vision.
Covering one eye to focus and read
Holding objects too close to the eye to see better
Complaints of discomfort
Difficulty remembering what they read
Missing lines while reading
If your child is facing any of the above-mentioned problems, it is important that they visit an eye doctor at the earliest. This will ensure that their sight is well taken care of before further consequences.
Every year before the school year begins it is always wise to ensure your child’s sight is perfectly fine. This will equip them to have a chance at reading better and learning better. Vision screening is not the perfect way to check your child’s eyesight. A comprehensive eye test must be done to ensure that their eyesight is perfect. Another thing to keep in mind is that a 20/20 vision does not mean it is perfect. The vision skills needed for a child to read, write and learn effectively are in fact more complicated than that. Sometimes even with 20/20 vision some children find things to be difficult when it comes to eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination.
Research has shown that almost 75 percent screening done in schools miss out on actual vision problems. Almost 61 percent of children facing eye problems never visit the eye doctor and get treated. The negligence towards eyecare will only result in added stress and burden on your child’s health and education. Changes in vision can occur without you or your child recognising it so it is important to ensure eyesight is well taken care of with an annual checkup.
Some of the most common methods used to correct a child’s vision are by prescribing glasses, contact lenses or even a series of vision exercises like vision therapy. When children are exposed to a lot of radiation or the sun it is important to ensure that their eyes are protected by wearing sunglasses or protective eyewear. Regular updates of prescription are important to ensure that the eye is healthy and corrected as it should be. Sometimes during this childhood their vision intensity tends to fluctuate and that has to be taken care of accordingly.
Things you can do to protect your child’s eyes
It is important that you pay adequate attention to your child’s eyesight because this will affect their future as well. So, every step of the way, it is crucial to ensure they are well taken care of. A few steps that you can incorporate are:
Avoid excessive usage of gadgets
Restrict television duration
Protect their eyes from the sun by wearing eyesight
Avoid exposing them to harsh lights
Maintain a balanced diet
Practice various eye exercises with them
With a rise of screen time caused by online classes parents must keep a check on their child’s eyesight. This can result in them losing concentration during class. All this strain tends to cause contractions in their muscles which can result in them needing higher powered glasses. Make sure you fix a screen time before it ends up in muscle fatigue. Since most of the activity has become virtual including classes, children tend to spend over eight to 10 hours, thus parents must exercise caution and curtail the extra screen time which may have harmful effects in the long run. Doctors recommend that for every 45 minutes of screen time there must be at least a minimum of 15 minutes of break given. This will help you avoid headaches, redness and other behavioral problems as well.
Children love being outdoors, and education is another crucial part of their lives. To ensure that they enjoy their activities to their fullest it is important for every parent take good care of eyesight and try to engage with children in some good indoor games. Diet also forms an important aspect and goes hand in hand in contributing towards healthy eyesight. Children must eat green leafy vegetables and food rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. It is important that children enjoy their childhood to the fullest.
(The writer is Consultant Neonatologist & Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bangalore.)
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