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It is alarming to see the increasing number of children wearing power glasses these days. Technology is meant to help us and simplify our lives, but too many inventions have affected the health of the children and made them lazy. If you have kids, you know how much time they spend watching television, scouring the internet on a computer, playing games on mobile phones, and reading on digital tablets. Spending too much time on these gadgets can be hazardous to their body, and especially affect their eyesight. Young children and adolescents have become more prone to eyesight-related problems. However, this growing problem can be curbed by timely measures and precautions.
Natural Ways to Improve Eyesight in Kids
There are many natural ways that you can incorporate to improve your child’s eyesight. To protect their eyes and keep them healthy, you must make sure that your child consumes a healthy diet and lives a healthy lifestyle. Wondering how to improve your child’s eyesight naturally? Adequate nutrition, exercise, and regular examination are simple steps to tackle poor eyesight.
Here are some ways to help improve the eyesight of your children:
Food and Supplements
A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is the solution to good eye health. The following are the food items that you must include in your daily meals:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
The anti-oxidative properties of carotenoids can keep free radicals away from the eyes. These carotenoids are found in abundance in green leafy vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A. They also contain other vitamins and minerals like calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B12. So, start giving generous helpings of broccoli, kale, and collard greens to your child. Spinach is also beneficial for good eyesight as it is high on antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. However, these leafy vegetables must not be over-cooked. It works best when consumed raw.
2. Other Colourful Vegetables
Vegetables like tomatoes and radish prevent macular degeneration (which is the main cause of loss of vision) and cataract. Other colourful vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotenes that provide protection from the sun and keep the retina healthy. Capsicum is also good to improve your child’s eyesight. Zucchini is rich in antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein and protects the eyes.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts and peanuts are rich in Vitamin E and can naturally reduce the chances of myopia in children. These nuts also have some amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Together, these fatty acids and Vitamin E prevent dry eyes. Consumption of flax seeds and chia seeds can also knock out eye-related problems.
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil can be obtained from varieties of fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Our retina consists of DHA which is a fatty acid that is present in fish oil. Lack of DHA in the retina can cause dryness and can lead to eye problems. Giving fish oil to your child can prevent dryness and curb the chances of eye problems.
Bioflavonoids and zinc, which are found abundantly in legumes, can prevent the retina from damaging. Children must eat legumes like black-eyed peas, lentils and kidney beans for healthy eyesight. We know that kids don’t like eating legumes, but don’t listen to your child’s complaints. Legumes are good for eye health and you must make sure your child eats them.
6. Whole Grains
Zinc is essential for the eyes and is found in whole grains like whole wheat and brown rice. Whole grains are also packed with other eyesight-friendly nutrients like Niacin and Vitamin E. So, avoid giving white carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and plain rice to your child and opt for whole grains.
Eggs are rich in Vitamin A and proteins. They are also loaded with lutein, an antioxidant that prevents blindness and fights macular degeneration. Eggs also maintain the ocular structural integrity and ensure the proper functioning of the eyes. So, let your child eat eggs and keep eye problems at bay.
Vitamin C is essential for healthy eyes and can be obtained from citrus fruits like oranges, guava, lemons, tomatoes, etc. Protect your child from eye infections and diseases by giving them strawberries. Orange or yellow fruits like mangoes, papaya and apricots are rich in Vitamin A, which is vital for preventing night blindness. Apricot is a super-fruit packed with carotenoids, beta-carotene, and lycopene and must be given to kids regularly. Blueberries and grapes are filled with anthocyanins which improve night vision, and thereby, help the eyes to easily adapt to the dark. Blueberries also have vision-enhancing flavonoids like resveratrol, quercetin and rutin. So, give fruit daily to your child.
Dark meat is a rich source of zinc. It is also found in oysters. Zinc is the mineral that delivers Vitamin A from your liver to your retina. This aids in uninterrupted melanin production in the eyes. Melanin is the pigment in the eyes that keeps the retinal photoreceptors and the rods healthy and curbs night blindness.
Lutein is a carotenoid vitamin that prevents eyes from diseases like cataracts and improves vision in children. Avocadoes are rich in lutein and must be regularly consumed.
11. Vitamin Supplements
If your child is a fussy eater and isn’t getting proper nutrition through food, then you must turn to vitamin supplements. Multi-vitamin syrups and other food supplements like juices and shakes will meet the nutrition requirements of his body and prevent eye problems.
The following are some exercises that you can engage your children in on a daily basis.
- Ask your child to move his eyes up and down. Tell him to look up towards the ceiling and focus, then look down and focus. Ask him to do 10 reps of this exercise. Then, change to the sides and repeat that too.
- Now, this exercise can be fun for your child. Ask him to move his eyes in different ways. He can move his eyeballs diagonally, in a zigzag fashion and in a horizontal as well as in the vertical figure of 8. Make him do 10-20 reps. of this exercise. However, make sure that he moves only his eyes and not his head.
- Another simple exercise is ‘blink’. Kids, as well as adults, don’t blink their eyes frequently which leads to eye problems. Ask your child to blink his eyes frequently to keep them moist.
- Another exercise that your child can do is ‘roll’ his eyes. Ask him to roll his eyes clockwise and anti-clockwise slowly. Let him repeat this action.
- Make him flutter his eyelids about 30 times, then close them, and rest for a couple of minutes.
- Practising the eye-shift exercise regularly can also improve his eyesight. Make him begin by focusing on a distant object, followed by changing focus to a nearby object. Let him do 10 reps of this exercise. To make it easy for your child, you can ask him to keep his arm straight and raise his thumb or a finger in front and shift his focus from a painting or photo on a distant wall to this finger.
- Attach a ball to a string and swing it like a pendulum. Ask your child to track the to-and-fro movement of the ball without moving his head.
- Massage the area around the eyes with fingertips can also relax his eyes. You can even massage his neck for relaxation.
- Close your eyes and massage the eyelids using your fingertips. Apply light pressure to stimulate the eyes.
- Practice deep abdominal breathing for adequate oxygen intake.
Some healthy habits that can help you boost your child’s vision and ensure better eyesight are:
- Give him healthy foods. Refrain from giving him junk food, processed food items, aerated drinks, and refined sugar as much as possible.
- Always ensure there is adequate lighting or natural light when your child is reading or studying.
- Religiously avoid prolonged use of computers and other gadgets. Encourage your child to take a break at regular intervals.
- Make sure that your kid gets enough sleep and proper rest as it will keep his eyes healthy. Relaxation for the eyes is also as important as good nutrition and exercise.
A healthy lifestyle is key to all eyesight woes. Let your eyes eat healthy food, sleep well, and exercise for sharp eyesight and obviously, a healthy body.
Regular Eye Checkup
Periodic examination of the eyes can help curb concerns of weak eyesight in toddlers. Consult a qualified and experienced doctor and get your child’s eyes checked regularly. Timely action and treatment can help you and your child immensely.
In today’s times, children usually have an eyesight problem, but with these easy lifestyle changes and healthy habits, you can ensure that your kid’s eyes are safe. A balanced diet enriched with all the required nutrition, exercise and good sleep will keep your child’s eyes healthy and happy.
Also Read: Eye Care Tips for Children