It's never too early for eye care

Aug 15, 2014, 07:14 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

Eye care has become a pressing issue in the city with a substantial number of kids requiring spectacles nowadays. The guide spoke to ophthalmologists across Pune for some handy tips

Blame it on the fact that kids are always looking at the screen (computer or mobile), or on the lack of frequent eye check-ups but kids wearing spectacles has become a common sight.

eye care

Ophthalmologist Dr Shrutika Kankania, says, “There is an increase in eye problems among kids. Kids watch television or play on mobiles from a very short distance. The mobile screen is small, and their blinking rate reduces. Certain muscles in the eye have to contract more and that does not happen leading to redness in the eyes. Kids have to wear spectacles as their muscles are overworked. They may also need spectacles that have to be used by people above 40.”

It is seen that vision problems affect one in 20 pre-schoolers and one in four school-age children. Also, untreated eye problems can lead to other serious problems as well as affect learning ability, personality and adjustment in school. Problems that can arise when the blink rate reduces are an increase in irritation and redness in the eyes.

Some of the precautions that can be taken is to keep the screen at a safe distance, increase the distance between the eyes and the screen and ensuring a proper sitting posture.

Kankania adds that after 20 minutes of looking at the screen, kids must take a break and look away in the distance or at greenery. “Every child should get two eye check-ups before the age of four; one at eight months to see if the infant can see properly or not and the other at four years to make out if there is a problem in one eye by conducting tests.

A lazy eye syndrome should be picked up at an early age so that kids’ vision can be saved. In this case, one eye is perfect and the other has a sub-normal vision and no one notices this as one eye is normal. It is detected at a later stage and the doctor cannot help then.” She also emphasises that pollution can also affect vision by causing irritation in the eyes, dryness, redness and allergy.

Kankania was supported by Dr Prasad Walimbe, ophthalmologist, from Jehangir hospital who added that early check-ups are important. “Schools should do check-ups regularly so that the problem can be deducted early and treated. Precaution is always better. Playing outdoors and eating green leafy vegetables will help maintain eyesight. They should also reduce eating junk food,” he says.

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