Guide to Eye Health
Good vision begins even before a baby is born. Whether it’s what you eat while pregnant, how you light your child’s room or how you protect their eyes while playing, there are tips parents can follow to make sure their children enjoy healthy vision from infancy on. In adulthood, it’s time to take overall health, including your vision, into your own hands.
- Make sure you get enough lutein, zeaxanthin and DHA in your diet during pregnancy and breast feeding
- Use a nightlight or other dim lamp in your baby's room, to provide visual stimulation when the baby’s awake
- Keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby's focus, about eight to 12 inches, so they can develop depth perception and eye-hand coordination
- Play hide and seek to help the baby develop visual memory
- Roll a ball back and forth to help your baby track objects visually
- Give your child building blocks and balls to play with to boost small muscle development – even in the eye
- Read or tell stories to stimulate the child's ability to visualize
- Make sure your child has its first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age, regardless of whether or not there seem to be any vision or eye issues
- Watch for signs of any delays in development, which may signal the presence of a vision problem. Difficulty with recognition of colors, shapes, letters and numbers can occur if there is a vision problem
- Make sure your child receives a full exam by an eye care professional every two years
- It’s never too early for your child to sport shades. Research shows that children who spend more time outside exposed to daylight may reduce their risk of developing nearsightedness. But they are still at risk for damage to their eyes from UV light. So make sure they wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect their eyes
Childhood through Adulthood
- Eat a balanced diet that contains plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables—especially dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale
- Make sure you get optimal amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, DHA, the vitamins A, C and E, riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2), beta-carotene and the mineral zinc
- Maintain a healthy weight
- A supplement with 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin is a helpful way to make sure you’re getting enough of both nutrients
- If you take a multivitamin, in addition to 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin, look to see that it has 500 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 80 mg Zn, 120 mcg vitamin A and 21 mg riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Get a Regular Eye Exam
- Adults 18 to 60 years old should get an eye exam every two years
- Adults over the age of 60 should get an eye exam annually
Take Care in the Sun
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor to block the sun
- Wear sunglasses, even on a cloudy day. Make sure you select sunglasses that absorb both UVA an UVB rays.
- Take precautions during the time when the sun’s rays are strongest, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Watch Your Screen Time
- Sit about 25 inches from the computer screen and position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
- Reduce glare from the screen by lighting the area properly; use a screen filter if needed.
- Take regular breaks