It’s alarming that around 200,000 Australian children aged between 0 and 14 are now living with myopia. Here are some easy ways for parents and caregivers to be more proactive about their child’s eye health in 2024.
Make a date with your optometrist
Early detection is the cornerstone of maintaining good eye health in children.
“Regular eye examinations can uncover conditions such as hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism and eye movement & co-ordination issues, which, if left untreated, may impact a child’s academic performance and overall wellbeing.”
Prioritise green over screen
While technology does play a significant role in the realms of education and entertainment, for the sake of children’s eyesight it’s essential to balance screen time with outdoor activities.
Encourage a balanced diet
Foods like broccoli, oranges, mangos, spinach, carrots, kiwi fruit, strawberries and oil-rich fish like salmon and tuna provide essential nutrients like lutein, zinc, vitamin A, C and E as well as omega-3 fatty acids which all help to boost eye health.
Props for protective eyewear
In Australia, it has been estimated that sports-related eye injuries make up 11% of all paediatric eye injuries with boys twice as likely to sustain a significant eye injury compared to girls.
“Children’s eyes, with their wider pupils and clearer lenses than adults, are particularly susceptible to UV radiation especially before the age of two. By ages nine to 11, approximately 30 percent of young people exhibit UV damage, and by the age of 15, one in three will have developed pterygium or pinguecula.”
Be vigilant about any changes to vision
“Keep an eye out for signs such as squinting, excessive blinking, frequent eye rubbing or “knuckling”, complaining of headaches or eye discomfort or any noticeable changes in their academic performance, especially literacy skills, interest in reading and ability to concentrate on schoolwork generally.”