The world through a child’s eyes – you might be surprised by the view

By: Courtenay Holden, Marketing and Communications, Our Children's Vision

When it comes to our kids, parents will do all they can to make sure they have the best start in life. They will move house to get their children into a better school, and devote hundreds of dollars and countless hours to tutoring them outside of school. But what happens when, despite all this, grades begin to drop? Your child becomes reluctant to talk about school. Gentle requests to look at a piece of homework begin to be met with slammed doors and tantrums. You rack your brain, wondering what has happened and how you can help. The answer might be simpler than you think.

A critical part of child development

In the developed world, we don’t tend to think of short-sightedness as a disability. But when poor vision goes uncorrected, the impact can be catastrophic. 80% of what a child learns is absorbed visually, so for want of a simple pair of glasses, a child’s education can be derailed. Often, kids don’t even realise why they are struggling at school – they assume they are stupid, or are told as much by unkind peers or uninformed teachers. They are wrong.

Unlike other health problems, uncorrected vision can slip under even the most vigilant parent’s radar. Your child may believe that the way they see is how everyone sees, giving them no reason to alert you to the problem. Issues like nutrition have shot up the global agenda because their impact is so very visible. You can see the effect nutrition has on your child’s physical development, but ironically, the impact of poor vision often goes unseen. That’s why integrating proper screening into a child’s health care regime is so vital.

Simple solutions for healthy vision

Millions of children around the world struggle with poor vision, and for the most part, that struggle is completely unnecessary. The majority of eye conditions that present themselves in children are treatable or preventable. If problems are not caught before that critical age, then they are often entrenched and little can be done to reverse the effects. By integrating eye care into school health programs, we can catch those conditions and reverse the growing trend of poor vision. Our Children’s Vision is a global campaign designed to make this a reality. Our immediate goal is to bring eye care to 50 million children by 2020. This is ambitious, but we know that it is achievable. And we aren’t stopping there.

Our Children’s Vision is working to unite health providers and governments to put an end to unnecessary vision problems in children. The first step is raising awareness, and the frontline people, best placed to detect any vision problems in children are teachers and parents.

Some simple way to keep your child’s eyes healthy

  • Spend more time outdoors: increased time outdoors may reduce the risk of developing myopia.
  • Limit time children spend on excessive near work including electronic devices such as computers and notepads, mobile phones and television. Encourage regular breaks from near based activities.
  • Include colorful fruits and vegetables (yellow, orange and green) in diet as they are excellent sources of nutrients that promote good vision and help the surface of the eye.
  • Ensure that your child's eyes are checked by an optometrist, especially at a time they commence schooling and at regular intervals thereafter.

Join the movement

Make our vision visible! We need parent power to raise awareness of child vision health.
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Photo: Vision for Life™ fund created by Essilor

 

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