Last week, we wrote about how a comprehensive eye exam can set your child up for success in the classroom and ways to minimize digital eye strain. This week, in part 2 of our guide, we cover how a summer growth spurt can impact your child’s eye health, eating smart early and common eye conditions associated with school aged children.
Be Aware of Your Child’s Growth Spurt over the summer
The major growth spurt occurs between the ages of nine and 14 for boys and eight and 13 for girls, which means that over the summer months, there’s a chance that your child’s vision has also experienced changes. Whether it be checking to see if your child’s prescription is still accurate or taking a proactive approach to your child’s health overall, it’s in your child’s best interest to see an optometrist that can rule out any potential problems before school starts.
Nutrients for healthy eyes: Eating Smart Early
During the formative years, nutrition is an important part of ensuring good health. Providing a balanced diet early on also instills healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.
Nutrients to think about when packing your child’s lunch box:
- Lutein: Helps to prevent oxidation of the lens of the eye, one of the major causes of cataracts. Leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli are all good sources of Lutein
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Helps to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts and can reduce eye dryness. Salmon, tuna and flaxseed oil are excellent sources to consider.
- Vitamin C: Helps to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. Oranges, berries, kiwi, and cantaloupe are great sources of Vitamin C.
Common Eye Disease for School Aged Children
- Amblyopia (sometimes referred to as lazy eye)
Amblyopia is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye (National Eye Institute).
If you are noticing that one of your child’s eye seems weaker than the other or if one eye may look straight ahead while the other turns in a different direction, you should contact an optometrists.
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
Bacterial conjunctivitis is the highly contagious form of pink eye caused by bacterial infections. It usually causes a red eye with a lot of pus.
Children are susceptible to getting pink eye because they share and mingle with other children every day at school. A major cause of pinkeye is not properly washing hands and reusing tissues and towels.
It’s best to review best practices for hygienic living with your child before they go back to school. The simple practice of washing your hands correctly can go a long way in preventing the spread of germs and diseases at school and at home.
Alberta health covers the annual eye exams of all children up to age 19 and offers free eyeglasses to kindergarten children who require a prescription. Make getting your child a comprehensive eye exam an important part of the back to school journey. Thanks for letting us be apart of your health! Stay connected on Facebook!
If you have any questions at all, please call 780-450-6700.