Taking good care of your kids’ eyes is a high priority for most parents. Sure, kids are bound to get their fair share of bumps and bruises over the years. That’s just part of growing up, and for the most part it’s fairly harmless. Those bumps and bruises heal pretty quickly.
Eye injuries are a different matter. Protecting your kids’ vision is a big deal, as injuries and eye strain at a young age can have lifelong consequences. Here are five things you can do to help your kids take good care of their eyes.
Get Their Eyes Checked Up Regularly
You’ll want to make sure that your kids get their eyes checked out regularly throughout their childhood. Remember, most kids don’t have anything else to gauge their vision against. So they might be experiencing vision problems without even realizing it. So don’t wait for your kids to say something. Take them to the eye doctor once per year or so for a checkup, even if they aren’t complaining about vision problems.
Limit Screen Time
Limiting your children’s screen time is also a good way to protect their vision and reduce eye strain. Limit TV time to 30-60 minutes at a stretch with outside play breaks in-between. You should have them do the same with computer time and even time spent on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Kids tend to stare for long periods while playing games and watching videos, so you want to make sure they give their eyes a rest from time to time. Modeling this behavior yourself can also help them stay on track.
Have Them Read with the Lights On
Reading books with low light levels can also lead to eye strain, so this should be avoided. Make sure that your kids have a desk lamp that is easy on the eyes for when they do homework. And have them use an overhead light at night also to balance out the light sources. Using only a desk lamp without other lighting in the room can cause more eye strain, so turn on those other lights too.
Wear Eye Protection When Appropriate
Wearing eye protection during rigorous activities can help prevent eye injuries. Eye protection should be mandatory when shooting airsoft or even squirt guns. They should wear goggles when swimming in the pool or in open water too. If they work with tools or on any kind of crafting or woodworking projects, make sure they use eye protection then too—and not just eyeglasses, as debris can enter around those small lenses. Also, it’s a good idea to have them wear sunglasses outdoors to reduce harsh sunlight and UV rays.
Teach Them Not to Rub Their Eyes
One more thing that parents don’t always consider is the habit of eye rubbing. Kids and adults are both guilty of rubbing their eyes all the time, but this can cause major damage to the eyes. Eye rubbing gets dirt and bacteria into the eyes which can cause scratches and infections. Teach your kids to flush their eyes with water instead.
Protecting your children’s eyes is easy when you follow these five tips. But you can’t always be there to remind them, so make sure that you model these behaviors yourself and teach your kids why each of them is important to practice as regular habits.