If your child suffers from vision problems, you surely want to do anything and everything in your power to ensure that he is able to see. This is important not only for his ability to navigate the world now and in the future, but considering that the majority of learning done in our school system in based on visual instruction, the truth is that he’ll have a much easier time if his eyesight is unfettered. On the other hand, your first instinct is probably to avoid the dangers inherent in surgery if at all possible. Although you might eventually exhaust your options and settle on surgery, depending on the condition that is impacting your child’s eyesight, you should definitely gather information on alternatives therapies. And if you happen to lean towards natural and non-invasive options, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a few things you can try.
1. Food. You’ve no doubt heard the adage “you are what you eat”, and there’s actually some merit to the statement. The foods you give your child provide essential nutrients that will help him to grow and develop, and you can use this knowledge to provide foods that are proven to benefit eyesight. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and particularly DHA, boost eye health in a number of ways. And while the best source is salmon, you might not want to risk too much mercury in your child’s diet. Flaxseed and walnuts are also good sources. Antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein also support eye health and help to prevent (and even reverse) some types of damage (like that caused by the sun). Good sources include leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and eggs. And you might be surprised to learn that sulfur-rich foods like garlic and onions can help to prevent cataracts, although you probably know that kids don’t tend to like them much.
2. Vitamins. It’s practically impossible to get all the nutrients you need from food, and kids can be pretty picky about what they eat on top of it. So you might want to talk to your pediatrician about the prospect of giving your child a daily multivitamin that will ensure he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs for overall health and wellness, not to mention those that will help to make his eyesight strong.
3. Adequate rest. Kids can be temperamental when it comes to bedtime, but it’s your job as a parent to make sure that your child is receiving adequate rest. So if you have trouble getting him down for the night, he awakens frequently, or he rises early, there are a couple of steps you can take. First, cut back on sugar intake, which will only keep him up. Then make sure that you don’t give him water right before bedtime and that he uses the restroom before going to sleep. Finally, think about implementing mandatory naptime. This will give you a much-needed break during the day and ensure that he gets all the rest he needs to support healthy vision, not to mention mental wellness.
4. Exercises. Just like any other part of your body, your eyes can atrophy if they’re not properly exercised. Since a child’s eyes are still developing, you don’t want to work them to hard, but easy exercises like eye rolls and changing focus (from an object up close to one far away) can help to strengthen eye muscles and potentially prevent vision problems.
5. Eco-friendly eyewear. When you’ve exhausted natural options like diet and exercise, the next step is to think about whether or not glasses can help your child to see. And there are plenty of international eyewear brands that offer eco-friendly options. One of the best may be Eco, which is certified by independent product evaluator ULE to feature 95% recycled materials. Proof Eyewear is another option that makes cool, modern frames from sustainable wood. And you can always look for vintage glasses that can be outfitted with new lenses as a means of recycling, although you might have a hard time finding eyewear for your tot by this last method. On the upside, all of these options are preferable to surgery.