Living with coronavirus has become the new norm today as scientists are yet to develop an effective vaccine for it. Until it is developed you need to take all the precautions necessary. The most vulnerable population in this pandemic are children and aged people.
In this blog, I will share details on how to take care of your kids and specifically their eyes. I will share how coronavirus can affect the eyes, different types of eye strain and what can you do as a parent to make sure your children have healthy eyes as they grow up.
How Can Corona Virus Affect Your Eyes?
Coronavirus is a contagious disease and spreads through fluid coming out of the nose and mouth of the COVID-19 patient when he/she sneezes or coughs. This fluid can enter a healthy person’s body through the nose, mouth, and eyes.
Hence it is very important to cover your eyes, nose, and mouth whenever you are in a public space and avoid touching your eyes without washing or sanitizing your hands. Coronavirus can also cause pink eyes (conjunctivitis ) but the percentage is very less. In case you get those sore eyes, do not panic as it does not necessarily mean you have coronavirus. Get the eyes checked by your doctor to understand the exact cause.
Increase in Screen Time
The lockdown has kept the children away from school and confined to their homes which is good for family bonding but bad for the kids if they are spending a lot of time on the computer screen or TV.
The increased screen time adversely affects the children’s eyes due to lights emitting from the TV and computer screen. It also can weaken the children’s vision which could lead to wearing spectacles.
What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain is another side effect of prolonged exposure of eyes to digital devices like computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
When a person sits in front of a computer or any other digital device every day for a longtime then his/her eyes might start showing digital strain symptoms like blurry vision, headache, neck, and shoulder pain.
The digital eye strain can be reduced by following a simple 20-20-20 rule which is after every 20 minutes of digital screen time, the person should spend 20 seconds looking at something that is atleast 20 feet away. This helps the vision to relax and remove the strain caused by the digital screen.
If the eye strain persists, then you need to visit an ophthalmologist who can advise you on the right solution.
10 Most Effective Eye Care Tips for Children
Below mentioned are 10 most simple and effective eye care tips that every parent should follow to make sure their children have great eyesight as they grow.
Here is 10 most effective eye care tips for children.
- Prevention Should Be the First Line of Defence
As a parent, you need to focus on preventive measures rather than reactive measures. So whenever your kid is involved in activities that have even a 1% chance of injury, it is better to take all the precautions. For example, if the child is playing any outdoor sport then he/she should wear safety goggles. Similarly, during swimming, the child should wear swimming goggles as the pool water contains chlorine that can affect the eyes.
- Avoid Using Hard and Sharp Toys
Kids love their toys but sometimes these toys can also harm them. The toys that have sharp edges are especially dangerous as they can cause accidental injuries, especially to eyes. Hence whenever you buy toys, make sure they are soft and do not have any sharp edges.
- Don’t Apply Eye Cosmetics on Your Child
In Indian tradition,it is normal to apply kajal/soorma on your child’s eyes. This had a cultural and medical significance in the past as the kajal/soorma was made from natural ingredients. Today however the kajal/soorma or eyeliner for that matter hasharmful chemicals. So it is highly advised to refrain from using any cosmetics on your child’s eyes.
- Teach Your Kid to Stop Rubbing the Eyes Constantly
Whenever a child gets a feeling of itchiness in his/her eyes, the first response is always rubbing the eyes with hands. This does more harm than good as rubbing it causes the irritation to increase and in case of a foreign element in the eyes, it can scratch the surface of retina causing serious damage. Also if the kid’s hands are dirty, then those harmful bacteria can enter his/her eyes. So it is important to teach the kids to refrain from using hands to rub the eyes. Instead, they should be trained to wash theirhands andeyes with water which is the safest solution.
- Reduce Continued Exposure to Digital Devices
Kids love video games and they tend to play for a long time. This is again very harmful to their eyes as the light-emitting out of the digital devices like smartphones, tabletsare not good. Also during the process of playing games or watching cartoons, the eyes are constantly focused on certain points which can cause degradation in eyesight. This could lead to vision problems in the future.
- Keep a Good Distance from the Screen while Watching Television
Apart from games, kids also love to watch cartoons on television. In the process of getting a better experience, they tend to sit very close to the television set which can cause serious harm. To avoid this make the kids sit on a couch that is kept at a sufficient distance from the Tv. Also, make sure the room is well lit and the TV is not the only source of light as that can also harm the eyesight.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet that Supports Eye Development
Just like the body, a healthy diet helps in the improvement of eyesight. Include fruits like papaya, mangoes, and other fruits in your kid’s diet. These fruits are high in beta-carotene which plays an important role in the development of eyesight. Similarly, leafy vegetables and iron-rich foods help in developing sharp eyesight.
- Give the Eyes a Break and Get Enough Rest
Today kids spend around 6 hours in school looking at the blackboard and when they come home they are glued to TV or computer screen. This creates stress on their eyes which could lead to dark circles and weak vision in the long run. To avoid this make sure their eyes get sufficient rest. An evening walk in the park is better than a TV or computer screen. Also, make sure they sleep for atleast 8 hours at night.
- Make Use of Sunglasses When Stepping Out of the House
In summer kids like to go outdoors like the beach, park, etc. The UV lights emitting from the sun are at a higher level in summer which can affect your child’s eyesight. So wearing a sunglass protects them from UV light and also makes them look stylish.
- Undertake Regular Checkup of Eyes
It is suggested that you need to visit an ophthalmologist atleast once a year and get your kids eye checked. In case the child is complaining of blurry vision or irritation in eyes, you need to get it checked immediately to take corrective measures.
To conclude, children are very delicate while growing up and it is our duty as a parent to protect them during this time. If you follow the tips mentioned above along with a routine that is a mix of digital and outdoor activities with all the safety gear and precaution then your child will have healthy eyesight.