Vision problem among children has spiked, owing to the changing lifestyle and education system. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced children and adults to switch to remote work settings, resulting in extended screen time.
Eyes require a lot of attention, owing to their constant use. So if your vision suffers, your work will suffer too. Already, children’s eyes were under strain due to excess use of gadgets. But now, most of them are glued to devices for online classes, which further damages their visual abilities.
Critical Visual Perceptual Skills for Learning and Writing
Good vision isn’t only about seeing things clearly – but the ability to see things and respond accordingly. There are vision skills that play a crucial role in helping children with their academics. Like:
- Eye focusing is the ability to maintain a clear vision of an object when the distance changes. For example, keeping a clear vision while reading or writing.
- Eye teaming enables coordination between two eyes based on the judgment of distance.
- Visual acuity is the ability to see things clearly at a distance like a blackboard, an intermediate distance like a TV, and up close, such as solving grammar checker sums using a calculator.
- Eye-tracking allows the eyes to stay on target and shift focus when an object is in motion.
- Visual perception helps an individual to organize images into texts and ideas for easy understanding and interpretation.
- Eye-hand coordination uses visual information and directs the hands for actions accordingly, like writing a report or catching a ball.
- Recognition is the way to differentiate between letters such as “b” and “d.”
- Comprehension and retention can capture things, form a fair idea, and remember and recall them when needed.
When one of the above skills fails to perform appropriately, children will experience vision problems and various learning issues. Along with headaches, blurred vision, and fatigues, it may increase the chances of:
- Myopia or nearsightedness
- Amblyopia or lazy eyes
- Astigmatism or inaccurately curved cornea
- Strabismus or squint eyes
- Anisometropia or unequal refractive power
Detecting Eyesight Problems
Early detection of eye problems can get you the necessary treatment and curb the chances of severe damage. Here are some signs that indicate vision problems:
- Excessive eye rubbing is a sign that your child’s eyes are tired and may indicate allergic conjunctivitis.
- Squinting is a common sign among children with a refractive error, which affects the ability to focus on an object. By squinting, your child gets a clear vision of an object temporarily.
- Covering an eye or tilting head to get a clear vision is an indication that your child has Amblyopia, a typical eyesight issue in children.
- Holding something close to the eyes indicates poor vision. Conversely, bringing something closer makes it bigger and clearer to perceive.
- Eye pain and frequent headaches are signs of overexertion. If your child complains of the same, it means s/he is straining their eyes to get a clear vision.
- Lack of focus and concentration is a common problem among students who find it difficult to focus on objects like chalkboards, books, or tablets due to blurred vision.
Signs of Vision Problem in Children
Up to 1 Year Old
- Three months older babies should follow objects with their eyes as they move. Contact your doctor if your baby is unable to maintain steady contact.
- Before four months, some babies’ eyes may look misaligned. But if it persists past four months, that’s a red flag.
Pre – Schoolers & Older Children
Although there’re no particular warning signs for eyesight issues like Amblyopia, consult an ophthalmologist if you notice any of the following:
- Crossed eyes
- White or greyish pupils
- Frequent blinking and fluttering
- Pus or crust in eyes
- Drooping eyelids
- Itchiness, eye pain, and redness
- Watery eyes
- Eyes oversensitive to lights
- Learning disabilities
- Reverse writing
- Avoiding to read
- Seeing double
- Difficulty in retaining information
Sometimes, it’s challenging to detect vision impairments without proper screening. Consulting an ophthalmologist or optometrist can help your child overcome the probable chances of vision issues.
Getting glasses with the correct power will improve and straighten vision and improve the eyes’ position and provide the necessary protection.
How to Nurture Children’s Vision?
Paying attention to your child’s vision can give them a lifetime of healthy eyesight. Therefore, make sure you do the following to keep your child’s eyes healthy.
Get Eye Exams
Have an eyes exam once a year. A comprehensive eye exam helps determine the eyes’ overall health and identify eye conditions if any.
“If your child is prescribed glasses for constant use, it’s important to test for visual acuity and sharpness,” says Mathew Gilbert of Essaygator.com.
It might be that your child needs a lot of vision care nad help, in which case you may need to find a vision insurance broker you can trust. That in itself is a process that can be made easier than you might think, so it’s important to make sure that you are doing this.
As long as you are getting exams and then getting the necessary treatment, that is going to help a lot.
90% of children can avoid eye injuries when playing outside by wearing safety glasses, eye guards, or eye shields. Have children use them and clean them from time to time to avoid infections and allergies. If your child has the habit of rubbing eyes, avoid getting them eye lenses. Instead, give them spectacles with UV-protected and anti-glare glasses.
Good eyesight also depends on healthy food like leafy greens, pulses, Omega-3 fatty acids, veggies, and fruits. Cut down on junk food and sugar intake to maintain standard weight. Excessive weight may lead to diabetes which often leads to vision loss.
Regulate Screen Time
Sure, children have to use laptops, tablets, or computers for their classes. But make sure they are not glued to the screen for an extended time. Also, all rooms should have adequate lighting and see that they blink maximum times while watching TV or reading to avoid straining their eyes.
No Random Eye Drops
Just because your child complains of itchy eyes or dry eyes, don’t put rose water or any eye drop without consulting an ophthalmologist.
Constant use of gadgets, reading, or writing can be strenuous for the eyes. Hence, children must take breaks in between to help the eyes relax a bit. And one way to do this is to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds straight.
Good vision is a must-have factor for hassle-free learning. But, unfortunately, most parents fail to realize this and wait to visit the doctors until something serious occurs. If you don’t detect eyesight issues early, it can impact your child’s academics and overall wellbeing. Therefore, identify the signs or book an appointment with the doctor to get a detailed overview of your child’s eye health and take the necessary steps to protect it.
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