Protecting Your Child's Eyes and Sight
There are many things you can do to keep your child's eyes
healthy and seeing clearly from birth through the teen years.
How Can I Help My Child Develop Good Eyesight?
- Place toys within focus of your baby"s eyes, only 8-12
- Encourage your baby to crawl. This helps develop
- Talk to baby as you move around the room to encourage
his or her eyes to follow you.
- Hang a mobile above or outside of your baby's crib.
- Give your baby toys to hold and look at.
Make sure your baby is following moving objects with his or her
eyes and developing eye-hand coordination. If he or she seems
delayed, talk to your child's doctor.
As your baby grows into an active child, continue to
encourage good eyesight by providing visually stimulating toys
that will improve motor and eye-hand coordination skills. Some
good examples are:
What Can I Do to Protect My Child's Sight?
- Building or linking blocks
- Stringing beads
- Drawing tools like pencils, chalk, crayons, and markers
- Finger paints
- Modeling clay
- Eat right both during
pregnancy and after. Your baby will be healthier and you
will set a good example.
- Provide nutritious, well-balance meals for your child
that include 400 mcg of vitamin A for children from birth to
three years, 500mcg of vitamin A for children from four to
six years, and 700-800 mcg of vitamin A for children seven
to ten years.
- Provide your child with age-appropriate toys that are
free from sharp edges.
- Give your child toys that encourage visual development.
- Provide sun protection for you child when outdoors by
means of shelter or UV coated lenses, especially if your
child's eyes are light in color.
- Encourage your child to wear the proper protective
athletic gear when playing sports.
- Get your child's eyes examined by an eye doctor
How Often Should My Child's Eyes be Checked?
There are no strict guidelines. However, a detailed
examination by an ophthalmologist, preferably a pediatric
ophthalmologist, in the first year of life and another one
between the ages of 3 and 4 is recommended. Additional exams are
administered if screenings at the pediatrician show any ocular
misalignment or visual difficulties. Children with siblings or
close relatives with significant eye problems should be examined
early and repeatedly by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
What Should I Do in an Emergency?
Here are four
first aid tips for eye injuries:
- If your child spills something in his or her eye and you
don't know what it is, or if there is alkaline in it - most
household products will so indicate alkaline on the label -
flush your child's eye for at least 20 minutes and have
someone call for medical help or the local poison control
center. Do not stop flushing your child's eye until medical
help arrives unless instructed otherwise.
- If your child is hit in the eye with a blunt object,
examine the eye closely. If you see bleeding, or cannot open
the child's eyelids or observe his or her pupils, you should
seek immediate medical attention.
- If your child continues to be in pain, constantly rubs
his or her injured eye or complains of blurry or double
vision, call the doctor. In the meantime, cover your child's
injured eye with a cold pack for 15 minutes every hour or
so. If you are using an ice pack, wrap it in a moistened
cloth so the eye does not become damaged from freezing.
- If you child's eye is injured with a sharp object, cover
the eye with a shield (the cut out bottom of foam cup would
do) as you would above and seek immediate medical attention.
DO NOT press on the eyelids. If the sharp object is still in
the child's eye DO NOT remove it. Instead cover the eye and
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD
, WebMD, November 2004.
Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic
2000-2005 Last Editorial Review: 6/21/2005