Protect Your Child’s Eyes 

There are many things you can do to help your child develop and maintain good healthy eyesight.  You can help protect your child’s eyesight beginning while you are pregnant and continuing throughout his growing years. 

While pregnant, it is important to eat a nutritious diet including fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish.  These foods contain antioxidants and nutrients needed for eye heath.  Children should also continue to eat a nutritious diet. 

As your child starts growing you should provide him with toys that will encourage visual development.  Toys need to be age-appropriate and free from any sharp edges. 

Children enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine especially during warm weather.  Everyone is at risk for eye damage from exposure to the sun.  Because of their developing eyes, children might be at greater risk of damage from the ultraviolet rays of the sun than adults.  

Many parents do not think about sunglasses or protective eyewear for their children, but they should. 

Some eye problems may be prevented by wearing sunglasses that block UV rays.  UV damage is cumulative over a lifetime.  Two eye problems that may develop in later years are cataracts and macular degeneration.  For this reason, to potentially minimize this damage from harmful rays, it is important for children to start wearing sunglasses as early as possible. 

To be effective you want sunglasses to block 90 percent to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.  How dark the lens appear is not an effective indicator of how well the glasses will protect eyes from UV light. 

An optometrist can help you determine which sunglasses will be effective at helping protect the eyesight from harmful rays.  Optometrist are doctors who provide primary vision care.  They examine the eye and then diagnose vision problems. 

Your child’s pediatrician will give your child a cursory eye exam when he has a checkup.  For a comprehensive eye examination, the child should be examined by an eye doctor.  The optometrist will be able to provide prescriptions for glasses and/or contact lens, if needed.  Comprehensive eye examinations by an eye doctor are recommended by the American Optometric Association for all children at 3 years of age and 5 years of age. 

The eye doctor can also offer guidance about eye protection for the child.  Unfortunately, there are thousands of sports related eye injuries each year, many of these injuries are suffered by children.  Wearing proper eye protection might have prevented more than 80 percent of these injuries to the eyes.  Sports googles are designed for impact resistance.  Regular eye glasses can break upon impact causing serious injury.  If your child is participating in sports that involve physical contact or sports where a bat, ball, racket, stick or puck is in play, then sports googles should be used. 

It is important to protect your child’s vision.  Having your child’s eyes examined does not have to be expensive.  There are optometrist who can examine your child’s eyes at many places such as Walmart, or Sam’s Club, Target, BJ’s, Lens Crafters, Vision works, America’s Best or Pearl Vision, etc.  There are numerous places, offering affordable eye examinations and affordable eyewear.