Shining a light on National Eye Health Week

by Natalie Brown

This week is National Eye Health Week (NEHW) meaning it’s a great time to talk about how we can keep kid’s eyes at their best. 

According to the Department for Education census data, an estimated 1.6 million school-aged children live with an undetected eye problem in England alone.

Consequently, eye experts want eye health to be at the very front of parent’s minds, so that it becomes part of our routine, just like a dentist check-up or back-to-school preparations!

This NEHW here at Babiators, we're focusing on what it takes to maintain good eye health and what you can be doing to ensure those little peepers are on top form...

What is National Eye Health Week?

National Eye Health Week is a campaign run to raise awareness of keeping “eye-aware” and encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles and look after their optical health.   

According to Vision Express, over two million people in the UK suffer from sight loss however half of this sight loss is avoidable*. With eye-protection, routine check-ups, and certain lifestyle habits, we can help stop this!

The importance of good eye health

The good news is starting early with good eye health helps make sure a child develops to their full potential both at school and with others around them. 

While the UK National Screening Committee recommends screening at age four to five years, there are many opticians who want to see youngsters much earlier on for a sight test. They recommend that children have a sight test around the age of three and then annually from there on.

Routine eye exams are key because as kids grow, their eyes can change quickly. This means that early detection of vision problems can make a lasting difference.

How to keep an eye on it?

It’s simple! Visiting an optician on an annual basis or when vision problems start occurring will help spot any potential eye ailments. Although not every eye condition has symptoms, it’s good to note some of the signs you can look out for.

If your child displays any of the following behaviours, you may want to get it checked out: 

  • Sitting too close to the TV or screens
  • Common headaches
  • Frequent eye rubbing/blinking
  • Difficulty concentrating/reading
  • Involuntary movement of the eye
  • Poor handwriting

Some schools offer basic screening to check for these signs and will let parents know if they have any concerns. However, it’s always best if parents keep watch as not only do few schools offer this service but vision problems can occur before they’re of school age.  

What can you do to look after their eyes?

As well as annual eye examinations, there are a few lifestyle and day-to-day choices that can ensure good eye health…

Exercise 

Getting them outdoors with regular exercise is one of them. Several studies over the last 10 years have found connections between regular exercise and reducing risks for several common eye ailments such as cataracts, wet age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. 

Eye-friendly food 

Foods such as fruit are great for eye health as they’re packed with vitamins C and E, especially oranges and strawberries which help to restore eye tissues. These healthy nutrients are important for eye health because they also contribute to cell growth while fighting off infection! These powerful antioxidants can also be found in kale, spinach and cabbages.

Protection

This is where we come in! Protection is key to maintaining healthy eyes throughout childhood and beyond. Good-quality sunglasses are essential in shielding from damaging UV light - cheap ones simply won't do! That’s why all our Babiators sunglasses feature UV400 lenses and look great too. It’s no surprise why our Babiators crew love rocking their shades.

Next steps

If you're wondering where to start to make sure your kid's eyes are in tip-top shape, let's begin by getting them booked in for an eye exam. It should only take a few minutes to book and better yet, kids under the age of 16 are entitled to NHS-funded sight tests (covering the cost of a sight test), plus an optical voucher. This also entitles you help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses if needed. 

And, if your little rockstar is yet to sport their own fashionable pair of sunnies, it's a great idea to pick up a pair of Babiators to help shield their eyes on their next adventure. 

Shop Babiators>>