Contrary to popular belief, eye disease is not just an affliction of the elderly, it can cause vision loss in babies, children, teenagers and adults alike. The first eight years of a child’s life are critical for eye development. If problems are not picked up during this time, damage and vision loss can be permanent. Surprisingly research has shown that, only nine per cent of Australian parents believe that their child’s eyesight is the most important aspect of their health.
The good news is that by being aware and informed, parents are uniquely placed to detect the signs of a potential vision problem within their children.
Here are 5 tips from The Eye Foundation for your child’s eye health;
1. Be Eye Aware: Early detection and treatment is the best defence against eye disease. Children should have their eyes tested at least once every two years. Symptoms to watch out for include rubbing of eyes, poor hand-eye co-ordination, lack of concentration and complaining of headaches, blurred or double vision;
2. Green is Good: Provide your child with a balanced, nutritious diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and yellow vegetables such as pumpkin and carrot will help to keep your child’s eyes healthy;
3. Hats Help: Make sure that your child always wears a broad-brimmed hat when playing outside, as this will reduce the amount of UV reaching your child’s eyes by up to half;
4. Specs Appeal: When in the sun, make sure your child wears sunglasses with UV to protect their eyes from damaging UV rays;
5. Balls Galore: Ensure appropriate safety procedures are covered with your child prior to playing sports that include high velocity ball action. Example sports include: tennis, soccer, basketball and hockey.
To find out where your child can be tested, or to make a donation to The Eye Foundation and support eye health research and development projects, visit www.eyefoundation.org.au