Eyes and visions are one of the most critical parts of a child\u2019s development. By having regular visits to your eye care provider, you get to know about your children\u2019s eye health. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Fiona Chew from Sunway Medical Centre Velocity with us today, to understand more about your children\u2019s eye health. Q1: What are the common eye problems among children? Image Credit: parenting.firstcry.com Dr. Fiona: Well, children are very interesting because they do not really complain, but they have a few common eye problems such as: \tRefractive error; Short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism \tLazy eyes \tSquint \tInfection tearing \tDroopy eyelids Q2: What are the factors that will lead to these eye problems? Dr. Fiona: Well, eye issues actually depend on the cause. For example, if you are talking about the refractive error, it could be due to some hereditary, some are actually due to digital devices which you give them like computers, handphones and all. If you are talking about lazy eyes, it could be something obstructing their visions from birth. If you are talking about squint, it could be due to congenital causes or other causes. So, basically, it depends on which condition you are talking about. Q3: Do the blue lights from digital devices affect my children\u2019s eyes? Image Credit: .healthline.com Dr. Fiona: Well, if you talk about blue light, let\u2019s have a look at sunlight first! Sunlight is made up of seven colours and one of them is blue light. Now, I know there is a lot of advertisement like \u2018Oh blue light, wear it, protect your eyes and blah blah blah..\u2019. But, in actual fact, children\u2019s eyes are still developing and they need all the seven rays, including the blue light. And studies have shown, it is sometimes the lack of these blue lights, which causes issues like short-sightedness or astigmatism. Image Credit: irisvision.com So, for children, it is not so much of the blue light problems, but more digital device\u2019s exposure problems. So, blue-ray per se does not really affect the eye, but it is more to the digital device\u2019s exposure. Q4: What can I do to protect my children\u2019s eyesight? Dr. Fiona: Well, first of all, if the child has to see digital devices, for example now with MCO for online learning, they can practice something called healthy eye habits. \t Healthy Eye Habits: 20-20-20 Rule Image Credit: JustStand.org After every 20 minutes of studying in an online class, you have to look at something far, preferably 20 feet, but, you do not really mention 20 feet. As long as it is far, just to relax the eye\u2019s muscles, for about 20 seconds before continuing the work. That is the 20-20-20 rule. \t Limit Digital Devices This limitation comes according to the child\u2019s age. For children age less than one to three years, I do not recommend any digital device\u2019s exposure\u2014that means no phone, no television. After three years, maybe less than seven years old, you can give them some exposure to the digital devices, but not more than one hour a day. After that, the maximum is two hours per day! \t Additional Ways To Protect Your Children\u2019s Eyesight Obviously, after you practice these healthy eye habits, you would like to have enough sleep, enough exercise, and eat properly. \tEnough Sleep \tEnough Exercise \tEat Properly \tPractice a Healthy Diet A healthy diet does not mean eating supplements. It actually means having a balanced diet, eating enough fresh fruits, vegetables, balanced portions of everything. \t Parents as the Role Model Also, the most important thing is that we should be a good example for our child. No point telling them, \u2018Do not play with handphones, do not watch television' when we are sitting right in front of them, playing with our own digital devices. Q5: What are the signs if my child has eye problems? Dr. Fiona: Well, a child with eye problems is a bit challenging because the child does not come and tell you they actually have eye problems. But, what parents can do is observe the child. Image Credit: Acuity Eyecare Are they peering, like doing this when they are looking at the television? Do they bring the books very close to the face when they are trying to study? Do the teachers complain, \u2018Oh, your child does not pay attention.\u2019 Or, do they have problems copying notes, reading or writing, they refuse to look at the notes. Or, we can also see if they start trying to close one eye in bright light, that could be the hint of squint. Or, if they start tilting their heads or having abnormal head movements, that means they like to turn right or left when they are seeing certain objects. Image Credit: Akron Children's Hospital: Inside Children's Blog Or, if the child frequently rubs their eyes or blinks so hard, these are indications there is something wrong. The child usually will not tell you they see double, they see blur or what, they will just pretend not to see it or they will just act they are not interested. Or they just do not want to study. So, usually, we must be very-very sensitive when the children are doing that, especially if the children are doing slow at school or teachers are complaining, \u2018They are not focussing\u2019. We should be very alert to bring them for a check-up just to make sure everything is alright. I think you have mentioned a very important part which is children would not be able to tell you \u2018I can\u2019t see\u2019, \u2018I can\u2019t see from which distance\u2019 but, all these are the signs. So, we need to help them, assist them. Q6: At what age children can start wearing glasses or lenses? Is there any minimum age? Dr. Fiona: Well, actually for glasses and lenses, there is a misconception that glasses and lenses are for bigger children. Actually even for babies when they are born, if they have a condition that makes it necessary for them to wear glasses, glasses can be prescribed as long as they have the indication. Image Credit: Straits Times Q7: What are the important nutrients for good eye health? Dr. Fiona: For good eye health, it is important to have a balanced diet\u2014they must have enough antioxidants and avoid junk food. They must also drink enough water to keep their eyes hydrated. Good vitamins would be Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and even the pigmented carotenoids such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin. To get the most of these vitamins \u2013 other than from fresh fruits and vegetables \u2013 you can supplement your child with Similac Gain Plus\u00ae Gold. Similac Gain Plus\u00ae Gold is formulated with 2\u2019-FL and Eye-Q\u00ae System that help with the building blocks of your child\u2019s well-being, as well as strengthening their immune system from within. The Eye-Q\u00ae system contains a unique blend of Lutein, Natural Vitamin E, and DHA that helps with the overall brain development to keep your child learning well and strong. Recommended for toddlers age one to three years old,\u00a0Similac Gain Plus\u00ae Gold is the world\u2019s first formula that contains 2\u2032-FL, which nourishes the child\u2019s first line of defence system in their gut. You can now redeem a FREE\u00a0Similac Gain Plus\u00ae Gold sample via their official website here. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vmvPZiAY-YtE For more videos about children\u2019s health, stay tuned for more upcoming videos on AskMeDoctor!