As a parent, I am constantly worried about my baby’s eyesight. He is all of 11 months AND loves watching telly. ‘Love’ is a mild word. He is crazy about it. Amused by the colors and the jingles, and the songs and all the Youtube shows broadcasted on a half-hourly basis, there are times when he looks at me out of sheer excitement. As if asking me to join him in this total madness. I don’t know what he really likes, though I quite fail to understand a lot of what’s going on in there. What I do know for sure is that this may pose a serious threat at the toddler stage. His eye vision will develop and also change quickly. Being vigilant is the need of the hour.
Children’s eyesight development:
The rate at which his sensitive sight is being exposed to a myriad of ultra-superficial colors and rays, it scares me to bits. Moreover, I realized that it isn’t doing much good for his creativity. Looking at pretty green grass early mornings and late evenings improves the vision. It could be a myth but I like to believe in it and so I practice it too. Eye muscles strengthen. Nerve connections multiply. And your child’s eyes become stronger and work together more effectively. Between the ages of one and three, coordination between eyes, hands, and body allow children to pick up objects, walk or run from place to place, and throw and catch a ball.
Child eye test chart:
Child complaining of sudden blurred vision? Do this eye test at home now!
Click here to download A person taking the test covers one eye from 6 metres or 20 feet away, and reads aloud the letters of each row, beginning at the top. The smallest row that can be read accurately indicates the visual acuity in that specific eye. The symbols on an acuity chart are formally known as "optotypes"
According to aao.org, here’s what a child eye test chart suggests:
Home eye Testing? Here’s what the normal score should look like. A child should be able to see the 20/40 line by age 3 or 4 and the 20/30 line by age 5.
If you test your child on a regular basis at different times during the day over a period of say 10 days and your child cannot see the expected line of print or can’t the same line with each eye, he or she may have an eye problem.
Can children’s eyesight improve?
There are actually plenty of things that you can do to ensure your toddler’s eyes and vision is healthy. Eyes play a central role in each and every step of growing up and simple things like diet, lighting, and early check-up can set things right from the start.
To help parents get the most accurate information on the subject, Dr. Anand Shroff from Shroff Eye Hospital, Mumbai, outlined the following points for us to take due note of.
Your child’s eye vision can improve considerably. You need to religiously practice 4 out of 6 points:
Include nutritious foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamin A which is associated with eye health. Diet should include fresh fruits such as papaya and mango, and vegetables such as carrots, green leafy vegetables, drumstick, and beetroot.
If your child is complaining of eye irritation then it might be because of allergy from some common irritant or seasonal shift. Identify the irritant with the help of your pediatrician. It is also important to discourage your child from rubbing his eyes very hard as this can cause keratoconus, a corneal abnormality.
3. Outdoor activities
Give your child protective eyewear made of polycarbonate while playing sports such as ball games and watertight swimming goggles while swimming. Chlorinated water can sometimes result in infections and allergies.
4. Indoor activities
Sitting in front of the TV, and using computers and video games has become a common norm. For Television, do ensure that the room is well-lit and is at least 4 meters or more away. While using computers, position the screen at eye level or slightly lower and keep it at a distance of 18-28 inches. Do not let your child watch TV or computer for more than 40 minutes, at a stretch. Taking breaks in between is recommended.
5. Indoor lighting
6. Avoid exposure to bright sunlight
Sunlight as a source of vitamin D is considered healthy but in moderation. Too bright sunlight is harmful to your child’s delicate eyes. For proper protection give your child brimmed hats and UV glasses.
You should also get your child’s vision checked up on a routine basis. According to Dr. Shroff, “Around 2-to-4% of India’s children develop a squint (cross-eyed) and/or amblyopia (lazy eye). Early detection and treatment of these disorders during childhood is essential for preventing permanent vision loss”.
So, when can your child get his first eye examination? Contrary to popular belief you can get a detailed eye check-up done as soon as 6 months of age. Get it done again at the age of 2 years and then annually. Toddler vision tests can be easily done at home, and if in doubt, visit your eye doctor.