What to look out for?
As if there aren’t enough things to worry about when you become a parent – but your child’s vision and eye health in general is too important of a topic to ignore.
There are some key signs to look out for if you are concerned about your child’s eye health at any stage of their development. If you suspect there is an issue with your child’s eye sight, it is best to discuss these concerns with your child’s paediatrician or a family GP.
Obvious indicators to look out for could be one or any of the following symptoms:
- Constant rubbing of eyes or squinting
- Overly clumsy or bumping into things
- Losing balance often
- Sitting close to the TV or bringing books close to the eyes to read
- Unable to read the white/black board at school
- Bringing objects close to the eyes in order to see them more clearly
- Covering one eye to see better with the other
- Eyes that do not look in the same direction
- Complaining of constant headaches
Increased blue light exposure
With the advent of handheld technology devices in the last decade, our children are now exposed to blue light from digital device screens which effects unfortunately are still relatively unknown.
Technology has advanced so much, generations before us never had the luxury of parenting distractions such as iPad’s on plane trips or long car journeys. Or handing a child your phone to keep them quiet whilst catching up with friends at a cafe.
Many primary schools across the nation have now implemented BYOD (bring your own device) programs, whereby children are encouraged to use digital devices for learning activities. Although this has shown to have great benefits to children’s education, we still need to be mindful of the effects that this regular screen time may be causing long term.
Some initial evidence suggests blue light could cause damage to the back retina of the eye.
Even short term, prolonged use of these devices can also cause eye strain and dryness of the eyes.
Antioxidants that act as Natural sunglasses
There are however some key antioxidant nutrients that can aid in protecting eye health and may help to defend against free radical damage. Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid which has shown to filter blue light emitted from digital device screens and acts as ‘natural sunglasses’ against sunlight. Beta-carotene and Vitamin E are two other key eye health ingredients to help support your child’s developing eyes.
It is also important to remember that prolonged exposure to digital devices (iPad’s, iPhone’s, TV’s etc) may be effecting development as well as eye health of children. The US Department of Health recommended in 2013 that children under two should not be exposed to digital screens at all. The maximum screen time for children over the age of two, should be no more than two hours a day.
If you are at all concerned about your child’s eye health, it is best to discuss these concerns with your child’s paediatrician or healthcare professional.