As any parent knows, keeping children healthy can be a challenge. From ensuring they eat a balanced diet to getting them to brush their teeth twice a day, there's a lot to think about. However, one area that is often overlooked is eye health. Just like the rest of the body, eyes need nutrients and care to stay healthy.

Children's eyes are especially vulnerable to damage from the sun and blue light from screens. Additionally, eye problems can sometimes be symptomatic of other underlying health issues. For all these reasons, it's important to make sure that children's eye health is a priority. 

6 Ways to Protect Kids’ Eye Health

  1. Practice eye break 

We all know how important it is to take breaks when we're working on the computer or staring at a screen for too long. But did you know that eye breaks are just as important for our children's eye health

Just like adults, children's eyes can become strained and tired from looking at a screen for too long. And with the increasing amount of time children are spending staring at screens, it's more important than ever to make sure they're taking eye breaks. Here are a few tips to help your child practice eye breaks:

  • Encourage your child to take a break every 20 minutes or so to look at something else for 20 seconds. This can be something as simple as looking out the window or watching a favorite toy.
  • Use a timer to remind your child when it's time for an eye break. Set it for every 20 minutes, and have your child take a break when the timer goes off.
  1. Eat a healthy diet 

Just as eating a healthy diet is important for overall health, it is also essential for eye health. In fact, certain nutrients are especially important for maintaining healthy vision. For example, omega-3 fatty acids help to support the eye's natural oil barrier, while vitamin A is essential for night vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two other important nutrients for eye health; these compounds help to filter out harmful blue light and protect against age-related macular degeneration. By including these eye-healthy foods in their diet, parents can help their children maintain healthy vision throughout their lives.

  1. Get enough sleep

A good night's sleep is important for overall health, and that includes the health of your eyes. Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to develop eye problems like dry eye, astigmatism, and nearsightedness. Additionally, lack of sleep can lead to serious conditions like glaucoma and cataracts. 

So how much sleep does your child need? Most experts recommend that school-aged children get at least 10 hours of sleep every night. And while that may seem like a lot, keep in mind that many kids actually need even more than that. So if your child is having trouble sleeping, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. Getting enough shut-eye is vital for maintaining healthy vision.

  1. Encourage playing outdoors

Children are often reluctant to put down their screens and go outside to play, but there are many good reasons to encourage them to do so. Spending time outdoors has been linked with improved mental health, and it's also essential for protecting eye health. 

Our eyes are designed to work best in natural light, and too much time spent indoors can lead to eye strain and fatigue. Exposure to UV light also helps the body to produce vitamin D, which is important for maintaining healthy bones. So make sure your child gets plenty of outdoor playtime, and consider taking advantage of eye health services if you have concerns about your child's vision.

  1. Limit screen time 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two should not have any screen time, and children over the age of two should have no more than two hours per day. This is because too much screen time can lead to a number of eye health problems, including eye strain, dry eyes, and even vision loss. In addition, limited screen time helps to promote healthy sleep habits and social interaction. 

If your child does need to use a screen for school or work, be sure to take breaks every 20 minutes or so to allow their eyes to rest. You can also encourage them to blink regularly and to stay hydrated. And of course, if you have any concerns about your child's eye health, be sure to talk to your family doctor.

  1. Visit the doctor regularly

Children are constantly growing and developing, and it's important to make sure that they're receiving the proper care to ensure their health and well-being. One important aspect of child health is eye health. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in four children has a vision problem that can impact their ability to learn. For this reason, it's important to take your child for regular eye exams. Your doctor can provide you with eye health services that are specifically tailored for your child's needs. By ensuring that your child's eyes are healthy, you can help them to avoid potential problems down the road.

Children are constantly growing and developing, and their eyesight is no exception. In fact, a child's vision can change rapidly in the first few years of life. As a result, it is important to make sure that kids receive regular eye checkups

At Broward Community and Family Health Centers, our experienced pediatricians can provide comprehensive eye exams for children of all ages. We accept many different insurance plans, and we offer discounts for families with low incomes. Plus, we offer convenient locations in Florida, making it easy to get your child the care they need. Give us a call today at 954-624-3200 to schedule an appointment.