Caring for you child’s eyesight when they are young is incredibly beneficial to their sight and eye health, as they grow older. With the American Optometrist Association reporting that nearly 80% of a child’s learning is done with their eyes, ensuring your baby’s vision is well cared for has never been more important.
Start Caring For Your Baby’s Eyesight Early
Even if your baby hasn’t been born yet, caring for their eyesight in the womb is just as important as after they are born. Be sure to eat healthy, nutrient meals with plenty of fruits, veggies, nuts, and up to 12 ounces of fish per week. With the right diet, you’ll pack your system full of healthy antioxidants and nutrients like vitamins, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and lutein – all key ingredients leading to good eye health for you and your baby.
Until 3 months of age, your baby’s eyes cannot focus on objects more than eight to ten inches from their face. Keep this in mind as you introduce them to toys and give them age-appropriate playthings that will encourage their visual development. Primary colors like red, orange, yellow and blue, as well as black and white, are much more stimulating colors than light pastels and designs.
Though an eye and vision problem in infants is rare, it is not as uncommon in older children.That’s why it’s helpful to know what signs to look for in determining whether or not your child might be experiencing eye problems. The following signs are the most common indications of eye and vision issues:
- Constant Eye Turning: muscle control difficulty
- Excessive tearing: blocked tear ductor
- Red/Incrusted lids: eye infection
- Extreme light sensitivity: elevated eye pressure
- White or light pupil: potentially cancerous tissue
Again, though these problems seldom arise in infants, knowing the symptoms can help prevent any issue from potentially worsening as your child grows. The best way to ward off threatening eye problems, however, is to make regular eye doctor appointments for your baby.
Be Consistent With Developing Good Eyesight
Like motherhood itself, helping your baby develop good eyesight is a full-time job. As your child grows, their eyes change rapidly. This makes encouraging visual development a challenge. Thankfully, there are 5 easy steps to take that make protecting your baby’s eyes easier.
1. Funny Faces
More than just a fun game with your baby, making funny faces and talking to him helps stimulate his vision. As your baby grows, back further and further away from him until he’s able to acknowledge your silly faces from across the room.
2. Hang A Mobile
Once your baby reaches two or three months, hang a mobile above his crib. At this point your baby should be tracking objects that move both vertically and circularly. He should also recognize faces, study his hands and feet and become more easily distracted by interesting sights. A mobile will help further encourage distance vision development.
3. Shade The Babe
Provide adequate sun protection for your baby’s eyes whenever you’re outdoors. Either keep him in the shade or provide him with UV coated sunglasses and a hat. Since most babies tend to have light eyes, their irises are especially susceptible to bright light.
4. Encourage The Crawl
Sure, crawling is great because your baby is finally moving around independently, but crawling can be key to vision development. By encouraging your baby to crawl he develops valuable hand-eye coordination skills that will benefit him in the future.
5. Happy Hands-On
Perhaps one of the best steps you can take to protect and build strong eyesight in your infant is by letting them hold toys, books, stuffed animals and other objects of interest. From three to six months of age, your baby’s eyesight will be rapidly developing and he’ll need to be adequately stimulated. By holding objects he can better assess and visualize his surroundings.
By consistently following these 5 steps, you’ll be taking preventative measures to protect the sight and health of your baby’s eyes. There are several more age-specific measures you can take to further protect your baby’s eyes like reading books, playing games, building blocks and much more. However the most helpful step you can take when caring for the visual development and eye health of your baby is to make scheduled eye appointments with a professional optometrist.