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5 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

Your child’s vision is their primary window into the world around them. Keeping their eyesight healthy is an important part of allowing them to experience life to the fullest.

Here are 5 tips on how to protect and improve your child’s eye health:

1. Take them to the eye doctor for routine eye exams

One of the most important take-aways from any article you read on the subject of keeping your child’s vision and eyes healthy, is the need to keep up with routine comprehensive eye exams.

Although your kid’s school may perform vision screenings, these tests can only detect the most basic issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or severe amblyopia. They are not equipped to check for eye diseases that can affect your child’s long-term ocular health, or binocular vision disorders that can hinder their ability to learn.

Our Richmond Hill eye doctor will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for the presence of these and other conditions. If ocular diseases or vision disorders are detected, your eye doctor will have the equipment and expertise to properly treat them.

2. Limit their screen time

Screens are an ever-present part of our lives. Children can spend hours every day texting, playing video games, watching television, and more. It is all-too-easy to spend way too much time on these digital devices, causing symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eye
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

Excessive blue light, like the kind that comes from these screens, interferes with sleep and is also thought to increase the risk of macular degeneration later in life.

To prevent symptoms and protect your child’s long-term vision health, limit their screen time, when possible, to approximately one hour, and devices should be turned off a few hours before bedtime to allow your child to wind down.

3. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and get exercise

As with every part of the body, a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of your child’s eyes.

Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to promote eye health. Good sources include fish such as salmon and herring. For vegans and others who don’t eat fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also a great option. 

Leafy greens and fruits are also important, as they’re high in vitamins A, C and E, which are all important for the development and maintenance of healthy vision.

Along with a healthy diet, you should encourage your child to get up and exercise. Physical activity is good for the whole body, and that includes the eyes.

Bonus points if you can get your child outside, as sunlight and outdoor play have been shown to slow or even prevent the development of myopia. Just make sure your child wears sunglasses and a sun hat — UV rays have a cumulative effect that could lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

4. Help them avoid eye injuries

Eye injuries are an all-too-common occurrence, especially among children.

If you have little ones at home, make sure that paints, cleaners and other dangerous chemicals and irritants are put away somewhere safe. If these ever get into their eyes, they can cause severe damage to your child’s visual system, including permanent loss of vision.

For contact and ball/puck sports, ensure your child wears the right eyewear to protect their eyes from accidental impacts or pokes. Helmets should also be worn where the sport warrants it, to prevent concussions and other head injuries that can have an effect on vision.

5. Reduce eye infections

Even small, common infections such as pink eye can have an impact on your child’s vision.

Hands are some of the most bacteria-filled parts of our bodies. Your child should learn not to touch their eyes with their unwashed hands, as this is the primary way of introducing germs to the eye that may result in infection. 

On a similar note, if you have contact lens wearers, be sure to teach them to wash their hands each and every time they put in or take out their contact lenses. They should also learn to store and clean their lenses strictly according to their eye doctor‘s instructions and should change lenses according to their intended schedule. Daily contacts should be changed daily, monthly contacts, monthly.

For more information on how best to protect and improve your child’s eyesight, contact Richmond Hill Optometric Clinic in Richmond Hill today.

Q&A

Can I rely on the vision screenings at my child’s school to catch vision and eye health issues?

No. School-based vision screenings check for basic visual acuity. Even if your child has perfect 20/20 vision, there may still be issues with visual skills or undetected eye diseases that these types of screenings are not equipped to catch.

It is important not to rely on school vision screenings as a replacement for an annual comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. During these visits, your eye doctor will be able to assess your child for vision skills such as:

  • Eye teaming ability
  • Convergence and divergence skills
  • Tracking and focusing
  • Visual accommodation

They will also be able to diagnose and treat conditions such as:

  • Amblyopia
  • Strabismus
  • (Rarely) pediatric glaucoma or cataracts

These and other conditions can only be diagnosed and treated by a trained optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam.

Can vision problems be misdiagnosed as ADHD/ADD?

It is unfortunately common for learning-related vision problems to go undetected. These vision problems can often mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, leading to misdiagnosis and mistaken treatment.

As many as 1 out of every 4 school-age children suffers from some form of visual dysfunction. If not properly treated, a child may struggle throughout their entire school career, harming their learning and possibly their long-term self-confidence.

Is Blue Light Harmful To My Eyes?

We live in a digital age where the dependence on technology is extremely common. Ipads, cellphones and laptops are used by almost everyone these days. This increased use of digital devices makes our exposure to artificial blue light inevitable. With the amount of screen time we have, a common question I am asked by my patients is ‘Is the blue light harmful to my eyes?’.

The recent pandemic has increased screen time for everyone. People are working from home and Zoom calls are the new normal. Children are enrolled in online learning as a result of the COVID-19 related restrictions. Our exposure to blue light has increased.

Blue light is contained at 400-490nm in the visible light spectrum. Blue light is naturally found in sunlight and is known to have an affect on our sleep. I am often told by many of my patients who use digital devices that they experience symptoms such as blurry vision, eye pain, eye fatigue as just a few examples. I make recommendations to my patients on how to protect ourselves from the artificial blue light which we are exposed to from our digital devices. Here are a few tips:

Reduce screen time and exposure to digital devices
Remember to get enough exposure to sunlight as this can affect the growth and development of the eyes and vision
Follow the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.

Is Online Learning Affecting Your Child’s Eyes?

The world as we now know it has changed. The recent health pandemic has changed learning for many, if not all, students. Previous classroom settings are now Zoom calls with the teacher and their classmates having their own screens but are nowhere to be seen. Prior to the pandemic, myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, was already on the rise. Some statistics had suggested that the global rate of myopia incidence would have increased to 50% of the population. This upwards trend will likely be affected by the increased screening time children are being exposed to.

With this increase in screen time as result of online school due to the pandemic, children are no longer spending as much time doing other things including being outdoors. Of course, there are genetic factors which are considered however there is a definite concern in regards to increasing myopia in children who must stay home as a result of the COVID-19 related lockdowns.

It is important for children to have a comprehensive eye exam. The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends a child’s first eye exam to be at the age of 6 months. Then again at 2-3 years old, and every year there after. In Ontario, yearly eye exams for children are covered by OHIP until they turn 20 years old.

SPINE

At SPINE we solve complex problems through intelligent engineering. Form follows function; aesthetics are dictated by technology and the solutions their relationship offers. Science takes centre stage.

Inspired by the interaction between vertebrae, SPINE solves age old hinge limitations. Unencumbered by traditional parts and manufacturing processes, we strive to out-think the competition.

There are no screws loose here – because there are no screws used in SPINE working mechanics. Accidental impacts are glanced off as SPINE moves in all directions, absorbing and dissipating shocks thus greatly reducing breakage.

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Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the world’s best known “Made in Italy” luxury brands. Salvatore Ferragamo was an innovator, a lover of shoes and was known as the “shoemaker to the stars”. The basic principles underlying Salvatore Ferragamo’s art of shoemaking, craftsmanship, creativity, and elegance are reflected in the entire product range inclusive of eyewear. His passion wasn’t only to make shoes that were part of the everyday, but to design a key element that defined ones style and personality.

Salvatore Ferragamo eyewear is playful, colorful, detailed with adornments, and quintessential of Ferragamo’s heritage. Salvatore Ferragamo Eyewear uses iconic elements from its DNA, such as, Gancino, Vara, and Prints.

“To me, luxury is freedom,” Creative Director Massimiliano Giornetti says, “It’s about being a free spirit who can express herself, and it’s about what is playful, colorful, and detailed more than minimal.” The use of iconic elements and innovative materials creates a balance between strong historical roots and new modern interpretations.

ROOTS

ROOTS is Canada’s leading lifestyle brand that was inspired by the great Canadian wilderness and its’ way of life. ROOTS eyewear mirrors the ROOTS’ corporate philosophy for the brand – it has to be casual, comfortable and fit great. ROOTS is committed to the Canadian way of life.

As with all their designs, including their eyewear, the company is solidly committed to the development of exciting styles that embody the values of tradition, quality and integrity of the Canadian way of life.

Nike

Nike has revolutionized athletic footwear and sportswear. Nike’s vast range of products includes specialized training gear, footwear, apparel, accessories, Nike Vision eyewear and sports equipment. Through innovative products, advertising, and sponsorship of teams and athletes, Nike has become a leader in the sportswear industry and one of the world’s largest brands.

Nike Vision eyewear brings the same inspiration and innovation to athletes with product that helps them See Sport Better ™. Product is developed for each category of sport within Nike, which are sport inspired and for the athlete in everyone, from lifestyle sunglasses to ophthalmic frames.

LACOSTE

The LACOSTE legend was born in 1933, when Rene Lacoste revolutionized men’s fashion replacing the classical woven fabric, long sleeved and starched shirts on the courts, by what has now become the classic Lacoste polo shirt. The LACOSTE art of living expresses itself today through a large collection of apparel for men, women and children, footwear, fragrances, leather goods, eyewear, watches, belts and home textiles. More than 80 years after its creation, LACOSTE has become an urban lifestyle brand which exemplifies elegance and comfort.

  • Inspired from chic, high performance sports
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LACOSTE looks at life in an optimistic way by telling itself it is a beautiful sport: a sport in which you compete with elegance, show off your panache, and combine a quest for performance with an eye on elegance. LACOSTE gives self-confidence to those who want to win the match “en beaute”.

Vera Wang

Known for her exquisite detail and modern, sophisticated approach to classic style, Vera Wang has once again designed an exceptionally beautiful and functional product with her eyewear collection.

She has translated her aesthetic into eyewear and created the ultimate accessory of subtle elegance and simple beauty to flatter any women’s face.

Elegant, Refined and Luxurious – Vera Wang.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Collection eyewear represents a sleek modernity characterized by sophisticated designs. The men’s and women’s eyewear continues to feature no visible logo detailing on the outside of the frame. Enhancing the minimalistic look is the signature reverse hinge, which has been fully integrated throughout both the sun and optical collections.