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An Optometrist's Guide To Back To School Eye Care: Vision And Nutrition

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An Optometrist's Guide To Back To School Eye Care: Vision And Nutrition

When you were young, you might have heard that carrots were good for your vision. While eating a bunch of carrots won’t give you 20/20 vision, it’s also not a total myth. Eating right is an important part of eye health since the eyes need nutrients to function, just like the rest of the body. While good nutrition is important for everyone’s eye health, it is especially important that children learn to eat lots of nutritious food so their eyes receive all of the vitamins they need while growing and to prevent eye issues when they are older. Here are some nutrients your child requires to maintain healthy eyes.

Optometrist Recommended Nutrients For The Eyes Include:

Vitamin A
This vitamin helps the eye to produce melanin, which is a pigment that protects the eye from sun damage. Vitamin A also helps to keep the cornea (the clear protective covering of the eye) healthy and clear. Getting enough vitamin A will help your child protect against cataracts later in life. Optometrists recommend eating foods that contain high levels of vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, pumpkins, and bell peppers.

Vitamin C
This vitamin, also called ascorbic acid, helps to promote healthy blood vessels. This is very important for vision, as the eyes have many tiny blood vessels that are critical to eye health. Vitamin C will also help your child reduce their risk of developing eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) later in life, and the anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C will help to reduce their future risk of developing cataracts. Optometrists recommend eating foods rich in vitamin C, including citrus fruits, red berries, kiwi, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These nutrients aid in the protection of the eyes from UV rays and can actually be found naturally occurring in the retina. Optometrists recommend eating foods that ensure healthy levels of lutein and zeaxanthin include eggs, corn, collard greens, cooked spinach, broccoli, and kale.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The oils in omega-3 fatty acids help your children’s eyes produce the oils they need for proper tear production. When the tears are lacking in oils, they will evaporate faster and lead to dry eye symptoms. Although this particular fat offers some benefits, it should not be overindulged. While omega 3 fatty acids are good fats, remember that many other types of fats, particularly saturated fats found in processed food and deep fried foods, are very harmful to the body and eye health. Optometrists recommend eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and other seafood, nuts, seeds, and plant oils.

Proper nutrition isn’t the only thing that affects children’s vision. Learn more by reading Save Your Vision Month: Help Your Child Develop Good Vision Habits For Life.


Keep Your Child’s Eyes Healthy With Help From A Calgary Optometrist

Eating well is a great step to maintaining eye health, but another important part of eye health is regular eye exams with an optometrist. After age 5, children should receive annual eye exams as a way to test their vision and also to monitor their eye health. An eye exam checks for many potential eye diseases and can inform treatment to help prevent any existing conditions from developing further. At Market Mall Optometry in Calgary, our optometrists are experienced in conducting pediatric eye exams and we ensure that your child feels safe and comfortable. Take care of your child’s eye health by scheduling a child’s eye exam with one of the Market Mall Optometrists by calling 1-403-286-4884 or filling out the contact form.



Q: What is included in children’s eye exams at Market Mall Optometry?
A: During a children’s eye exam at Market Mall Optometry, the optometrist tests for:

  • Color blindness
  • General eye health
  • Focusing skills
  • Near vision
  • Distance vision
  • Eye movement control
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Peripheral perception

​After the appointment, your optometrist can also provide you with suggestions for helping you choose the right frames, what type of lenses work best, whether or not they are old enough for contact lenses, as well as give you advice on protective eyewear they might require for sports.

Q: How likely is it that my child has a visual impairment?
A: There are many factors that alter your child’s likelihood of developing eye conditions, but 25% of children in Alberta begin grade 1 with undiagnosed vision or eye health problems, and approximately 30% of the world’s population has myopia (nearsightedness) with that number expected to be 50% of the population by 2050. Although your child may have good eye health and not need eyeglasses, regular eye exams are an important way to monitor eye health each year and identify health and vision problems at the earliest stages.

Q: What are antioxidants and why might they be good for my child’s eye health?
A: Antioxidants are foods that slow down oxidation, which is the process of cell aging and death. Oxidents change the fats and proteins in the eyes and can lead to a clouding of the lens called cataracts. Sufficient dietary antioxidants in childhood will help them stave off cataracts later in life.

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