How is your child’s eyesight?

sightedness

The rate of short-sightedness in children has doubled in the past 50 years and new research has found that a large contributor is children not spending enough time outdoors.

During the Pre-school years from ages 3 to 6, children will be perfecting the visual skills they will have already developed during the infant and toddler years. At Tops Day Nurseries, we have activities in place to encourage children’s visual developments with a large focus on mark making. We also have neutral coloured walls in all of our settings across the Tops Day Nurseries family so children can concentrate on the activity in hand and not get distracted by their surroundings.

It is thought 50% of adults in the UK are estimated to have myopia (short sightedness) and between 30-50% of children, so how can we try to prevent this? Research shows that going outdoors even for short periods of time has proven to make a difference. Although it is not yet known why daylight is important, some experts believe levels of the brain chemical, dopamine, play a role. The experts’ theory is that light stimulates the release of dopamine in the eyes, potentially minimising excessive growth of the eyeball which can make it harder for the lens to focus on an object; therefore high levels of dopamine in the eyeball have been associated with a lower risk of short-sightedness.

At Tops Day Nurseries, children are always given the opportunity to play outside. Our nurseries operate a ‘free-flow’ system, where children can play outside throughout the day. We also have extra-curricular activities for children to take part in such as Tops Forest School, where children can spend time outdoors learning about nature, through nature.

Because very young children can’t verbally express eyesight struggles well, both parents and practitioners can look for symptoms, including:

  • Babies should be able to follow an object, like a toy, with their eyes as it moves across their field of vision
  • Sitting too close to the television, iPads or phones or holding books close to their face
  • Squinting
  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Closing one eye when taking part in visual activities
  • Eyes that are ‘lazy’ or misaligned
  • Light sensitivity
  • Having very watery eyes
  • Older children may complain about having ‘itchy eyes’ or discomfort

If you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight you should book an appointment with your local optician.  To find your local Tops Day Nursery please click here.

 

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