While routine pediatric eye exams are a crucial part of your child’s eye health care, that’s just one of the many ways you can help care for your child’s eyes.
Serving the Bronx, New York, area for over 20 years, Bainbridge Eye Care is your trusted partner for your child’s eye care. Nicanor Lacsina, OD, and Yelena Pinkhasova, OD, share their top tips for taking care of your child’s eyes.
Focus on eye-friendly nutrition
What you eat fuels your body, and getting the correct nutrients can help your child’s eye development. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc are especially beneficial for your eyes. Fresh fruits, vegetables 一 particularly carrots, broccoli, dark leafy greens 一 and cold water fish supply many of these nutrients.
We know that not all children are adventurous eaters, but these tips can help you add more eye-friendly nutrients into your child’s diet:
- Include vegetables, such as zucchini and carrots, in muffins, omelets, or stir-fries
- Make a smoothie with citrus fruits (a good source of vitamin C), ice, banana, yogurt, and a touch of honey
- Try vegetable pouches for easy single-serve vegetables/fruit blends
- Pack tuna sandwiches for lunch
- Make an omega-3-packed trail mix with seeds and nuts
Older children may be more apt to try new vegetables if they understand the benefits. Read books to your children about how your eyes use these nutrients. You can also find age-appropriate books, including picture books for your youngest children, at any New York Public Library.
Cardiovascular exercise is good for your child’s mood and physical health. It also helps prevent eye diseases, like macular degeneration, later in life. It’s never too early to think about the long-term effects of exercise!
Teach your children about eye protection
Whether your child is playing a sport, using chemicals in chemistry class, or using power tools in shop class, it’s important to wear the right type of eye protection. The right type of protection varies depending on the activity. For example, ski goggles also include UV protection, providing a 2-for-1 benefit of protecting your child’s eyes from debris and sun exposure.
In addition to wearing protective eyewear, it’s critical to wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat with a brim when your kids play outside.
Help your child with proper eye hygiene
Proper eye hygiene can help reduce the risk of your child developing an eye infection. Keep these tips in mind:
- Always wash hands before touching eyes, including putting in or taking out contact lenses
- Your child should never rub their eye (it could scratch their eye) but ask a parent, teacher, or another adult for assistance
- Never share makeup (even dress-up makeup used for play)
- Teach your child how to clean their glasses
If your child wears contact lenses, follow all cleansing instructions on the contact solution bottle, including cleaning and replacing the case as needed.
Give your eyes a break
To help avoid eye strain, teach your child the 20-20-20 rule. For 20 seconds, look at something 20 feet away — do this every 20 minutes. A timer can help your child stay on track with this rule.
Know the signs of vision trouble
Squinting to try and read the board at school is nothing short of a headache, but your child might not realize there’s a problem. Common signs your child needs glasses include frequent squinting, complaining of headaches or eye strain, struggling to read, or declining grades in school.
Start pediatric eye care early
There’s no need to wait until your child has an eye problem or struggles with vision issues to schedule a pediatric eye exam.
With over 16 years of experience, Dr. Lacsina follows the American Optometric Association recommendation for infants to undergo a comprehensive eye exam at six months. Unless other issues arise, your child may not need another routine exam until age three and right before kindergarten.
To get started with pediatric eye care in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx, New York, call Bainbridge Eye Care at 718-306-9142 or use our online form to make an appointment.