Special Needs Children’s Eye Health
Being a special needs parent comes with its own special concerns. One of these is my children’s eye health. I wear glasses, so the chances are that my kids will too. I know how important it is to make sure that their eyes are healthy and looked after.
Another reason to ensure my children’s eyes are healthy, is that the eyes are still developing and growing throughout their childhood. Therefore the quicker a problem is spotted, and it’s treated, the better it is for my kids.
Notice the Signs
Research has shown that 20% of school-aged children have an undiagnosed problem with their vision. Having the best vision to see, the best vision to read, the best vision to socially interact with family and friends are all vital for the development of children.
Knowing what to look for as a parent is essential in detecting potential eye conditions. However, some conditions don’t really show any outward signs, which is why getting a child’s eyes tested on a regular basis is very important.
Some of the signs to look out for might show up as the following:
- Your child sits too close to the television, computer screen or other devices
- They start to complain of headaches
- Your child continually rubs their eyes
- You child has difficulty concentrating
- Your child starts to act out
- Your child’s eye starts to drift inwards or outwards
If any of the above signs show, then getting an eye test for your child is essential. Your child may need to wear glasses. This can be daunting for any child, but there are so many styles and designs that allowing them to make their own choice will help them feel good about wearing them.
Getting your Kids Tested
When you do go to have your child’s vision tested, talk to them about what will happen, so they don’t worry. A sight test often involves a look into their eyes by the optometrist. It could also involve the use of several machines which can detect any colour vision issues as well as checking how healthy the eyes are.
Visiting the optometrist isn’t a one-off occurrence. You should prepare yourself and your child to make regular trips – just like the dentist!
The optometrist will make a recommendation as to how often they want to see your child. This is usually every two years but can be earlier depending on the diagnosis.
Support your Children’s Eye Health
There are other things you can do between eye appointments which can help you look after your child’s eyes. These include:
- Ensure they eat a healthy well-balanced diet
- Have them drink enough fluids especially water
- Encourage them to exercise and play outside on a regular basis
- Protect their eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses
- Ensure they don’t look directly at the sun
One topic that hasn’t been touched on and that’s the issue of children’s eye sight and the use of screens.
Eye Health and Screens
Screens, from phones to consoles are part of everyday life now. There is a lot of research out there looking at the potentially harmful effects of screens.
Below are some tips to assist in ensuring your child’s eyes and overall health are not damaged by too much screen time.
- Moderate screen time and ensure your child has regular breaks
- Be aware of the time you spend on screens, so your child isn’t taking their cue from you
- Try to establish screen-free zones and screen-free times
- Turn off screens a certain time every day
- Use parental controls and other technology to switch off internet access automatically
- Limit screen time, but remember to tell your child why
- Encourage them to do other activities such as going outside
- Make screen time a reward rather than the norm
- Keep screens out of the bedroom
Actively doing all of the above will assist you in managing any damage that might occur to your child’s eye health through screens.
Children’s eyes are their window to the world and growing up. They develop and grow by watching and listening to what is going on around them. Taking good care of their eyes will ensure they can continue to develop unhindered.
Doctors can successfully treat the damage to a child’s eye, if caught early. Eyecare is essential so remember if you spot something have it checked out immediately. Remember, there are so many wonderful treatments and techniques today that can have your child’s eyes back in tip-top condition.
Have you taken your children to the optometrist? What was the experience like? Drop me a comment below.