Top Tips For Maintaining Your Child's Eye Health This Summer
Summer’s on the way and with that comes school holidays, outdoor activities and fun in the sun with family. While the season provides a fantastic canvas for memory-making, it also presents specific challenges for a child's eye health. The combination of increased outdoor time, exposure to UV rays, and even the seasonal pollen can affect their eyes more than we might anticipate, making vigilance around eye care essential at this time of year.
If you’re a parent looking to keep your child’s eyes safe and healthy over the holiday period, read on. We’ll be covering some essential summer eye care tips for vision protection to ensure summer for your young ones is filled with clear views, bright moments and uninterrupted fun.
Summer Eye Health Risks
While summer brings a slew of activities and joys, it also invites a host of environmental factors that can irritate or harm a child's sensitive eyes. Recognising these factors and knowing how to address them promptly can ensure your child enjoys the season with minimal discomfort.
The summer sun, while inviting, emits harmful UV rays. Continuous exposure without protection can damage the sensitive tissues of the eyes, leading to potential long-term ailments like cataracts. When outside during the day, ensure your child wears sunglasses for children that block 100% of UV rays, and a wide-brimmed hat for added protection.
Summer holidays can also mean more video games and online activities. Extended screen time can lead to digital eye strain, causing symptoms like dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision. To combat this, practice the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, encourage your child to take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. Screen time limits can also be helpful, so encouraging your child to put down the controller and get out and about during the day is a great start.
Summer blooms bring pollen, and these tiny particles can trigger eye allergies resulting in itching, redness, and watering. Be observant of their symptoms, and should any persist or seem severe, consult with an optometrist or doctor immediately.
While summer-specific threats are crucial to address, maintaining overall eye health is equally important. With the right nutrition and regular check-ups, you can create a robust foundation for your child's eye well-being that lasts beyond the season.
While summer-related threats are crucial to address, maintaining overall eye health is equally important. With the right nutrition and supplementation, to regular check-ups, you can create a robust foundation for children’s eye health that lasts beyond the season. Here are some vision health tips to consider:
Vitamins and Minerals
Our eyes require certain nutrients to function optimally. Foods rich in Vitamin C, E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are great to add to your child's eye nutrition diet, as are citrus fruits, leafy greens, fish, and nuts. Not only are they delicious, but they're also powerhouse foods that promote healthy eyes and overall well being.
Encourage your child to develop a taste for nutritious foods early on. A summer fruit salad, brimming with a colourful array of berries, citrus fruits, and a generous sprinkle of nuts can be a mouth-watering treat, as well as a tasty way to ensure their eyes get the vital nutrients they need.
Hydration and Eyes
The eyes, like the rest of our body, rely heavily on adequate hydration. Keeping the eyes moist reduces the risk of dryness, irritation, and blurred vision. Encourage your child to drink water regularly throughout the day. Infuse it with slices of summer fruits like strawberries or cucumbers for an appealing twist.
For those especially dry and windy summer days, having a bottle of artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) on hand can provide immediate relief. They're especially handy after a long day of outdoor activities when eyes can feel particularly dry.
While a balanced diet is crucial, sometimes children might require a little extra boost. Consider supplements rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants known to support eye health. However, always consult with an optometrist before introducing any supplements to ensure they’re right for your child.
Apart from being great for brain health, omega-3s also play a role in maintaining eye health. If your child isn't a fan of fish, omega-3 supplements can be a good way to ensure they're getting enough of this essential fatty acid.
Limiting Exposure to Chlorinated Water
Summer often means lots of time spent in the pool. While it’s a fantastic way to cool down, chlorinated water can be harsh on the eyes, causing redness and irritation. Encourage your child to wear swimming goggles to shield their eyes and ensure they rinse their eyes with fresh water post-swimming.
A Balanced Lifestyle
Engaging in regular physical activity can aid circulation, ensuring that the eyes receive a good supply of oxygenated blood. Whether it's a game of backyard cricket or a cycle around the block, staying active supports overall well-being, including that of the eyes.
A good night's sleep is restorative, not just for the body, but for the eyes as well. It helps in repairing and refreshing eye tissues, so ensure your child is getting enough restful sleep during the summer month to keep their eyes healthy, and energy levels high.
Regular Eye Check-ups
Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change, and the eyes are no exception. Even if your child exhibits no signs of vision problems, regular eye exams are invaluable. They can uncover hidden issues and allow for timely treatment, ensuring optimal vision health as they grow.
If you’re looking to have your child’s eyes checked, head into Eye Spy or book an appointment today. We pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive range of eye care services and treatments from our Palmerston North optometry clinic. Whether you’re looking for a general eye examination, vision aids like glasses or contact lenses, or simply need advice about taking care of your eyes, we’d love to see you.
The Eye Spy Team