Dec 20, 2012 No Comments
You know how precious eyes and vision are not just in the toddler years, as children learn about the world, but all through life. Crucial to maintaining your child’s eye health and vision are:
- Regular checkup. It’s important to catch vision or eye problem early, so be sure you toddler’s eyes are checked by the doctor on schedule. The eyes are usually checked in formally art a regular well-child visits. If a child is at high risk for eye problems (was under 1.45 kg/ 3 1/4 pounds at birth, has a family history of retinoblastoma, congenial glaucoma, cataracts, or diseases associated with eye problems), or, if any abnormalities are noted, the child may be referred to an eye specialist, ophthalmologist, for further evaluation. If your child eyes were not checked during the first year, have them checked as soon as possible. Visual acuity is usually screened again between three and three-and-a-half (earlier if a specific concern arises or if there is a family history of eye disease). In the UK, the first formal screening usually takes place sometime before a child enters school, before the age of the five. These exams, performed either by the child’s doctor, a pediatric ophthalmologist, or a community orthoptist (as state schools in the U.K.) are not painful and are rarely upsetting to a toddler. In general, children who were born prematurely are more vulnerable to vision problems, so they need earlier and more frequent eye exams.Keep in mind that a toddler will not be expected to achieve a perfect 20/20 score on an eye exam. The average two-year-old generally scores about 20/60. Vision continues to improve over the next few years to 20/40, but doesn’t reach 20/20 until about age ten.
- Protection from the sun. Long-term exposure of the eyes to the sun appears to increase the risk of cataracts later in life. So get your toddler used to wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors *(playing, walking, or riding in the buggy) in strong midday sun for more than a few minutes. Whether children should always wear sunglasses in the sun is controversial; some experts question whether the eye’s own protective mechanism will develop properly without some exposure to sun.When buying sunglasses, look for UV-blocking lenses; the block 99% of both UVA and UVB light. Some sunglasses provide the following ratings: general purpose – medium-to-dark tinted lenses for use in any outdoor activity; special purpose – for extra-bright environment (in the snow, at the beach); cosmetic – lightly tinted for use around town. Side shields and goggles provide extra protection in extremely bright situations (high-evaluation snow fields and tropical beaches). To be most effective, they should screen out 75% to 85% of available light. Before purchasing sunglasses, be sure to check the lenses for distortions. (Hold the glasses at arm’s length and look through them at straight line, such as the edge of a door or window, a couple of meters/several feet away. Slowly move the lens across the line; if the straight edge becomes distorter, sways, curve or otherwise seems to move, optical quality is poor).
- Protection from injury. Whenever there’s a risk of eye injury, protective glasses should be worn. The best protective glasses have 3-mm 1/8-inch thick polycarbonate lenses and have frames that are approved for industrial or sports use. Leak proof goggles are a good investment for toddler who spend a lot of time in chlorinated swimming pools. Keep in mind, underwater swimming is not recommended.Though parents have been telling children otherwise for generations, it’s not true that reading or playing in dim light can damaged vision. But because not having enough ‘light on the subject’ can cause temporary eye strain and headache, always provide your toddler with adequate lighting.
- Protection from television. While no amount of TV will permanently damage a child’s eyes prolonged viewing can induce temporary eye strain. Minimize the risk by limiting television; when the TV is on, adjust the lighting to minimize glare from the screen, and insist that your toddler take viewing breaks every half hour. Also make sure your child doesn’t sit too close to the set (the most desirable distance at least five times the width of the screen); a child who repeatedly gravitated back closer to the screen may be nearsighted, and should be tested. (Some experts recommend that children under the age of two should not watch television at all; sitting too close also increases the potential risk from electromagnetic fields.)
- Protection from allergens. A child who is prone to runny eyes during allergy season should wear wraparound glasses or goggles as often as possible when outdoors to keep pollen and other irritants out. Air-conditioning and air filters can help reduce irritation indoors. Summering in a cool climate, when feasible, is also helpful.