WHEN talking about children, parents should not wait for their kids to complain about their eyes, because 90 percent or nine out 10 kids show asymptomatic eye problem. This means that these children already have eye problem but do not feel it because they think having blurry vision or the need to be near the blackboard always are just a normal thing.
Dr. Lareen Dawn B. Tan of Global Eyecare Center, said when a child complains about his eye problem expect that that problem is already worse.
“The earliest a child’s eyes should be checked is when he is just six months old. Afterwards, it will depend if the doctor finds any problem in his eyes,” Dr. Tan said.
So here are some of her advice on how to take care of your child’s eyes:
“Zero gadgets to children eight years old and below,” the pediatric eye care expert said, adding that this advice is not only from her, but also from the pediatric association, as gadgets tend to damage their eyes, as well as hamper their cognitive function.
“If your children need to spend time with gadgets and near-work activities like computer, cellphone, or even writing or drawing, limit it to no longer than three hours straight a day as it can already induce an eye problem,” she said.
Dr. Tan, however, is quick to add that if the children need to do near-work activities which may take long period of time, they can do so provided that they must take a breather every after 20 minutes until the three hours limit per day is reached.
Genetics is also a factor in a child’s eye health. The 2015 optometry board topnotcher bared that whenever both the parents have eye problem, then their child have 100 percent chances to have an eye problem as well. If one of the parents has an eye problem, then their offspring will have 50 percent chances of getting it as well.
Aside from this, Dr. Tan corrected the myth that only yellow fruits and vegetables are good for the eyes. “All fruits and vegetables are good for the eyes. Yellow fruits and vegetables are only good in certain part of our eyes, but some other parts need the vitamins and minerals we could get in other fruits and vegetables.”
To relax the eyes, children are also advised to look 20 feet away at things that are not so bright, “Light should be pointed to where you are looking, and not to your eyes,” she said, adding that, “Too much light will damage our lens and can cause early cataract and also can damage our retina, it can also cause macular degeneration.”
She also attributed early cataract she has detected in some teenagers nowadays to gadgets, especially that cataracts should have been detected in people more than 50 years old.
Dr. Tan also advises parents to seek an eye doctor immediately whenever they see their kids rubbing their eyes, especially that rubbing of the eyes can cause astigmatism or blurry vision. It can also cause keratoconus or the thinning of the cornea which leads to vision loss.
Keratoconus cannot be corrected with regular glasses or contact lenses. It also cannot be treated by other eye treatment procedures like Lasik or orthokeratology. It can only be treated by a special contact lens called a scleral lens.
Global Eyecare Center is the only eye center in whole Mindanao island that specializes in scleral lenses.
Dr. Tan also advises parents to protect their kids’ eyes by letting them wear eye protectors or glasses. Among all sunglasses, she said the best that should be worn outdoor are the polarized lenses. It is able to block 50 percent of light and prevents glaring light from passing through the eyes.
Next is mirrorized. This one reflects light away from your eyes. And the last is the tinted sunglasses.
Global Eyecare Center has all these kinds of eye protective sunwear which are specially made for children since they use specially made pediatric lenses. Pediatric lenses are made of a special material that is lightweight therefore very comfortable for kids to wear, and are impact resistant or hard to break. So, even when the kids are rough playing outdoors, there’s no need to fret that their eye protectors or eyeglasses would break.
Global Eyecare Center also administers comprehensive eye exam for free when a patient purchases eye glasses, contact lenses, eyedrops, or eye vitamins from them. And it’s no better time to have your child checked than this August, since it is being celebrated as sight-saving month.
Global Eyecare Center has four branches in Davao City located at the 2nd floor of Abreeza Mall, along Magallanes street, inside Felcris-Magsaysay Avenue, and 4th floor Gaisano Mall of Davao in JP Laurel Street (Bajada).
Global Eyecare Center -Abreeza is located at 2nd floor Expansion Wing, with contact numbers 0929-2279908 (Smart), 0995-4632319 (Globe), and (082) 225-9538 (landline).