Protecting your child's eyes and vision
There are many things you can do to keep your child's eyes healthy and
ensure they see clearly from birth through to the teenage years.
How can I help my child develop good eyesight?
To help your child develop good eyesight:
- Place toys within focus of your baby's eyes -- 20 to 30 centimetres
- Encourage your baby to crawl. This helps to develop hand-eye
- Talk to your baby as you move around the room to encourage their eyes to
- Hang a mobile above or outside your baby's cot.
- Give your baby toys to hold and look at.
Make sure your baby is following moving objects with their eyes and
developing hand-eye co-ordination. If this seems to be delayed, talk to your
As your baby grows into an active child, continue to encourage good eyesight
by providing visually stimulating toys that will improve motor and hand-eye
co-ordination skills. Some good examples are:
- Building or linking blocks
- Stringing beads
- Drawing tools such as pencils, chalk, crayons and markers
- Finger paints
- Modelling clay
Always make sure that toys are age-appropriate and follow advice from the
What can I do to protect my child's sight?
To help protect your child's eyesight:
- Eat well both during pregnancy and after. Your baby will be healthier and
you will set a good example.
- Provide nutritious, well-balanced meals for your child.
- Provide your child with age-appropriate toys that are free from sharp
- Give your child toys that encourage visual development.
- Watch your baby for signs that the eyes are turned in or turned
- Look at your baby’s eyes for any haziness or clouding in the pupil.
- Provide sun protection when outdoors by means of shelter, a sun hat or UV
coated lenses, especially if your child's eyes are light in colour.
- Set an example to your child by wearing the proper protective athletic
gear when playing sport.
- Have your child's eyes examined by an optometrist regularly, particularly
during infancy and childhood.
How often should my child's eyes be checked?
Your child will receive an eye test shortly after he or she is born and a
follow-up test six weeks later. Usually, eye checks are done as part of routine
developmental checks for young children. A comprehensive eye test is
recommended when a child is four, and children should then have annual eye
tests until the age of 16. Children with siblings or close relatives with
significant eye problems should be examined early and repeatedly.