Taking care of your child’s wellbeing includes being aware that eye health is as important as visits to the dentist, education and spiritual guidance
Maintaining good eyesight starts with diet. Six of the main foods recommended include:
- deep-water fish – salmon, tuna, and mackerel are important sources of omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain lubrication in your child’s eyes preventing dry-eye syndrome, and can also help reduce the risk of developing cataracts as well as macular degeneration, later on
- leafy green vegetables – kale, spinach, and collard greens contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin that have antioxidant properties, which help ward off free radicals in the eyes; and act as a defence mechanism to prevent macular degeneration and cataract formation as your child ages
- eggs and carrots help prevent night blindness and dry eyes, maintain your child’s ocular structural integrity and promote healthy functioning of the eye components
- berries and citrus fruits can strengthen the immune system, increasing a resistance to eye infections and other diseases
- nuts – almonds, pistachios, and walnuts have antioxidant properties that help preserve eyesight; eating nuts is an effective home, myopia-control remedy.
- beef – dark meat and oysters ensure the continuous melanin production, a pigment that is primarily responsible for maintaining retinal photoreceptors – especially the rods – to prevent night blindness.
I’m often asked whether there is any truth that ‘carrots help you see in the dark’. Well yes, there is because the body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which is important to help prevent night blindness and dry eyes, maintain ocular structural integrity as well as promote healthy functioning of the eye components.
For effective reading and learning, children need the following vision skills:
- to see clearly
- in the distance for viewing the blackboard
- at an intermediate distance for the computer
- up close for reading a book
- to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision when looking from the blackboard to a paper on the desk
- to keep the eyes on target when moving the eyes along a printed page or following a moving object
- to be able to judge distances and see depth for classwork and sport
- to be able to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands when drawing a picture or hitting a ball.
- to be able to organise images on a printed page into letters, words and ideas.
Be aware that children who struggle with learning-related vision problems may experience.
- discomfort and fatigue
- eye rubbing or blinking
- short attention span
- reading and other close activities, avoidance
- one-eye covering
- head tilting
- holding reading materials close to the face
- an eye turning in or out
- seeing double
- losing place when reading
- not remembering what he/she read
Vision problems can result in some of the signs and symptoms commonly attributed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as hyperactivity and distractibility. To ascertain that your child has been correctly diagnosed, a comprehensive eye examination is recommended.
Vision is more than the ability to see clearly, it’s also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen.
To ensure your child has the advantage of clear vision in the classroom, on the sports field, at home and at play, ask your optometrist to recommend the frequency of visits required.
Let your child’s journey to eye health start with me…