Caring for your baby eyes

Healthy and expressive eyes are of more value than all the wealth in the world. To keep them so, you should feed them with a steady supply of Vitamin A and B. Vitamin A, not only prevents night blindness, eye strain and fatigue but at the same time it helps the tear ducts to secrete their natural moisture, the best lotion in the world to keep the eyes naturally sparkling and alive.

Therefore, a baby should always be given from the 1st month onwards, Vitamin A drops. Besides, you should see that your child does not suffer from eye strain or any other disease which might affect her sight. The best way to put an end to eye strain is to put an end to the conditions that cause it.

Never allow your child to do any eye work at a close distance without proper lighting. The light should come from behind and from the side so that the page is evenly lighted. Reading in very strong or dim light, dazzling or flickering light, reading small or bad print, reading in a stooping or lying down posture or reading in moving cars or trains also causes severe eye strain. Television too can cause eye strain if the picture is not in the proper focus or if the room is improperly lighted. An additional room light or a soft indirect light is best when watching a television. But when signs of eye strain are noticed in your children you should take her immediately to an eye specialist.

If the specialist advises the use of eyeglasses which will improve the sight, you must buy the child eyeglasses at once. If the eyeglasses are avoided the visual acuity of the eyes will diminish further. In the case of high power glasses, a delay may cause the eyes to become weak and partly blind, so much so that even if the glasses are taken later on the sight may not be restored. Get your child the best possible glasses. Well-fitted, good looking ones not only enhance a child’s appearance greatly but also remove tension and strain from the eyes.

They should be worn only when they are absolutely needed, that is during reading or writing or seeing movies or television. The eye muscles should be given every chance to relax, which they cannot do as long as they have this encumbrance. Even if a child cannot do without them she should be made to take them off from time to time for at least half an hour.

In the field of eye diseases, the most common diseases are: ­

Squint

A squint occurs when the action of the eye muscles that move the eyeball gets imbalanced in all the directions, due to a fault in the control of these muscles by the brain. A child may be born with a squint or she may acquire it without warning, between the ages of 2 to 6 years. In growing children, the squint follows a long illness like typhoid, measles, and meningitis or after a fit of convulsions. About 80 percent of this disease is cured provided its correction begins the moment it is seen.

Cataract

A cataract is an opacification of the human eye lens. It is due either to development defect at birth in the structure of the human eye lens, injury to the eye from extraneous sources or due to diseases like diabetes, hormonal defects or calcium deficiency. A visible cataract is seen as a whitish or a yellowish spot through the black window of the eye. No drug or medicine can dissolve a cataract; it can be only removed by an operation. As far as possible it should only be removed when ripe or nearly so, and it is only the eye surgeon who can decide when he has to do the operation. After the surgery, the child is given spectacles to wear so that she can see clearly.

Crossed eyes

It is common for a baby’s eyes to turn in or out too much at moments in the early infancy. In most cases by the time the child is 3 months old they become steady and straight, but if the condition continues, take her to an eye specialist who will correct the condition.

Watery eyes

Sometimes the eyes of small babies are watery, so much so that the tears overflow on the cheeks even though it is not crying. This is not a serious defect and it will clear up within due course, by the time the baby is a year old. There may also be a discharge from the corner of the eyes. White matter collects in the corner of the eye and along the edges of the lids. This discharge may keep the lids stuck together when the baby first wakes up in the mornings. The condition is caused by obstructed tear ducts. If it does not clear within a year, then an eye doctor can clear the duct by a simple procedure. When the lids are stuck together you can soften the crust with warm water and a soft cloth.

Besides these diseases, other discomforts of the eyes are felt by the child when cinders or other foreign bodies enter the eyes. You can remove the foreign bodies by drawing the upper eyelid down and away from the eye, and holding it by the lashes. This gives the tears a chance to wash the grit out, or you can give the child an eye cup which contains a warm boric acid solution (dissolve 1 teaspoonful of boric acid powder in half a cup of warm water). Make the child tip her head down, apply the filled eye cup to the eye, straighten her head up and blink several times with the cup against her eye. If this method to proves unsuccessful in removing the foreign body from the eye then takes the child to a doctor.

For the sake of your own child vision and that of other children, prevent your children from playing with sling­shots, darts, and the like. And please do not use any home remedies in the eyes like honey, tea water etc. which harm the eyes, rather than enhancing the beauty of the eyes.

The only good lotion for a baby’s eyes is her own mother’s milk if a few drops of that milk are put into the eyes right from the breast. Besides having a soothing effect, it cleans and brightens the eyes. Most of the minor eye ailments are also cured by this milk.

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