This is a Guest Blog contributed by Amy Williams. Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyber bullying and online safety.
Our vision is arguably one of the most valuable of our six senses and for children it is vital for their overall health, welfare and development and education. In an adorable video recently posted by KAAL News Channel 6, a mother captures the moment that her 11-month-old daughter tries on corrective lenses for the first time. The toddler initially fights the fact that she needs to wear glasses, but the moment her vision becomes clear, the tiny tot is overcome with joy since she can now clearly see the faces of her loving parents for the first time.
This video that quickly went viral (seen online by over twelve million viewers) reminds us of the importance of ensuring that our children have the best vision possible, whether or not they need to wear glasses or contacts to correct their eyesight. As a matter of fact, the AOA (American Optometric Association) recommends that kids get their first comprehensive eye examination at the age of six months since up to 10% of preschoolers have vision problems and 25% of school-aged children have trouble with their eyesight.
Carrots for Eyes & Spinach for Muscles?
As children ourselves, we were likely told that eating carrots would help to improve our eyesight and many of us may have watched Popeye down a can of spinach to boost his muscular strength, but in reality, both are vital for better vision. More importantly a well-balanced diet is important for developing eyesight of youngsters and many other healthy benefits for a growing child. Antioxidants promote the production of vitamin A and C which are both vital for better vision, while Lutein and Zeaxanthin are nutrients necessary for proper eyesight.
These important nutrients for better vision can be found in a plethora of foods in plentiful amounts:
- VITAMIN A: Carrots as mentioned previously, but also found in green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, collard and mustard greens. Other foods rich in antioxidants are liver, milk, eggs, cheese, red peppers, apricots and sweet potatoes.
- VITAMIN C: Found in all citrus fruits, as well as berries, tomatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower
- LUTEIN & ZEAXANTHIN: Celery, lettuce, peas, pumpkin, squash, corn, cucumbers, green beans and peppers.
Other important nutrients for the better development of good eyesight and vision include:
- ZINC: Which is found in lean meats (like poultry), seafood (especially salmon and tuna), soybeans, peanuts, cheese, oysters, whole cereals and bran.
- VITAMIN E: Vegetable oils (wheat germ oil is particularly high in vitamin E), milk, butter, meats, avocados, wheat and other cereal grains.
Any healthy diet should also limit the consumption of too many sweets and limit fat intake. Too much sugar can lead to the onset of diabetes which can eventually contribute to serious eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy. The ingestion of too many fats and harmful carbohydrates will often cause high blood pressure which can be a contributing factor for developing glaucoma.