How to Protect Your Children’s Eye Health and Prevent Dry Eyes
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month in the US, and a good reminder to safeguard your child’s vision.
More than 5 million children in the US have a vision problem that can affect learning. Up to 80% of a child’s learning in school is visual.
Like many children in North America, your child may undergo school vision screenings for common eye health problems.
While useful, these screenings are limited and may not identify common vision problems. That’s why it’s important to ensure your child undergoes a comprehensive eye exam regularly.
Children’s vision can change often during their school years. So it’s important to take them to see an eye doctor at least once a year, even in the absence of any obvious eye problems.
Knowing about the most common eye health problems children have is also important. It can help you take preventive measures and spot symptoms early. Read on to find out more.
Common Eye Problems That Affect Children
Eye disorders in children often go undiagnosed. But early treatment is often crucial. A condition like lazy eye, for example, can only be treated successfully if treatment begins before the child turns 8.
Around 20% of children have a refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, amblyopia, or strabismus, according to the Boston Children’s Hospital. These can be corrected with eyeglasses and other eyewear.
Sports-related injuries are another major cause of eye problems among children. According to a Vision Council report, around one-third of the over 600,000 sports eye injuries that occur every year involve children.
A leading cause of blindness, eye injuries in children often occur in boys under 15. Even seemingly harmless sports like soccer, volleyball, or tennis can cause serious eye injuries in kids.
Encouraging your children to wear protective glasses or goggles while playing sports can prevent injury. Depending on the sport, adequate eyewear protection may range from sports goggles to face shields and helmets with full face protection.
Tip: Choosing together with your kids eyewear protection that they like will increases the chances that they will wear it.
Another common eye health problem among children is dry eyes. Chronic dry eye syndrome in kids can be the result of an inflammatory, autoimmune, or endocrine disorder.
More often, however, children develop temporary dry eyes because of environmental factors.
Does Your Child Have Dry Eyes?
A more recent 2021 study found that digital eye strain affected 50% of children who participated in e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most common symptoms were itching and headache.
The signs and symptoms of dry eyes in kindergarten and elementary school students can be subtle enough to pass unnoticed.
However, dry eyes in children may affect their ability to learn, reduce attention in the classroom, and affect their daily lives. It may discourage them from doing their homework and reading.
Pay attention to the following signs of dry eyes in children:
- Blinking too often
- Constantly rubbing at their eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Complaining of grittiness in the eye and other ocular discomforts
If you recognize one or more of these signs in your child, it’s important to consider what may cause them.
What Causes Dry Eyes in Children?
Dry eyes are less common in children than in adults. But a variety of causes may trigger dry eyes in kids. These include:
- Environmental factors such as an air-conditioned classroom or home
- Too much screen time, which disrupts natural blinking patterns
- Poor nutrition
- Autoimmune, inflammatory, or endocrine disorders
- Medication for other medical conditions
- Wearing contact lenses
Regardless of its cause, dry eyes in kids can be managed. Lifestyle changes, supplements, and medication can all help.
How to Improve Dry Eyes in Children
If your children have dry eyes, it can affect their day-to-day life. Looking after their eyes is one of the best ways to help them grow into healthy and happy adults. So, where should you start?
Pay attention to any of the signs and symptoms of dry eyes your child may show. Ask them regularly how their eyes are feeling.
While eye drops may help with dry eyes in children, the need for frequent application makes them inconvenient. What’s more, eye drops may contain preservatives and other ingredients that can cause irritation, redness, and blurriness. We've devoted an entire post to explaining how overusing eye drops can make dry eyes worse.
In most cases, eye drops won’t address the underlying cause of your child’s dry eyes. Rather, they provide only temporary relief. Your child may not even like applying them.
Instead of looking for quick fixes, be proactive about supporting your children’s eye health. Here are some of the best ways to improve eye health in children and make their dry eyes go away.
- Reduce kids’ screen time and encourage them to spend more time outdoors.
- Ensure your children eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins A, E, C, and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Substitute sweets with fruits, especially those that can contribute to eye health, such as blueberries and goji berries.
- Get their eyes checked regularly. A comprehensive eye exam can rule out any medical conditions that may cause dry eyes in kids.
- Give them an eye health supplement they will enjoy taking, like the delicious Blueberry Gummies.
Discover Our Blueberry Gummies
Dry eyes treatment for children doesn’t have to be boring or taste bad. Sightsage Blueberry Gummies are made with Canadian freeze-dried blueberries and sweetened with monk fruit. Monk fruit is calorie-free and doesn’t contribute to tooth decay the way other sweeteners do.
Our delicious gummies can be a treat for your children, one that supports vision health in the digital age. Informed by years of clinical experience in treating patients with eye conditions, they can help soothe dry eyes symptoms in children and boost your child’s general vision health.
Many of our customers who have tried them so far love them.
“Nice product – Tastes good, helps my kid with good vision.” – Betty
Children’s eye health awareness month is a good reminder that it’s never too early to start safeguarding your children’s vision. From encouraging them to reduce screen time to getting them a delicious and easy-to-take eye health supplement, there’s a lot you can do for their eyes.
Grab now the Blueberry Gummies. Your child will love them!