The landscape of eye health services has witnessed significant advancements over the past few years. Over the years, eye care services have evolved to become more accessible worldwide, allowing many, including New Zealanders, to access a comprehensive range of eye health services.
Despite this progress, however, there remains a concerning issue of underserved population groups, including Māori, Pacific peoples, and those residing in low-income and low-access areas.
This stark reality emphasises the need for families to take their vision care into their own hands and assume a proactive role in preventing eye diseases. Fortunately, there are readily available and straightforward measures that families can adopt to initiate a journey towards optimal vision health.
Regular eye exams
Regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining good vision and preventing potential issues. According to Ann Fogden of Taupō, New Zealand, advancements in general eye health have been “quite astonishing,” with a range of effective preventive and corrective measures. Yet, early identification of problems via eye tests remains the key, as many individuals, especially children, may not be aware of their poor eyesight.
Despite concerns about the cost of eye tests, the long-term benefits outweigh the expenses. However, you can explore free eye test services in your area, with NHS in the UK offering eye services for qualified individuals and Specsavers providing free eye tests in New Zealand for all kids aged 15 and under.
Free home trials
Making eyeglass selections after an eye exam often requires a visit to a physical store to try on various frames. However, free home trials offer a convenient and pressure-free alternative. This service is offered by Glasses Direct in the UK to allow parents and individuals to test the fit, weight, and size of glasses in the comfort of their homes.
It also comes with next-day delivery and easy returns, which is especially relevant for busy parents who may find it challenging to visit a store with their children. Otherwise, a free home trial also allows family members to explore different frame options at their own pace, turning the process into an engaging family activity. It ensures that everyone involved feels comfortable and satisfied with their eyewear choices.
Protecting the eyes during various activities is essential for preventing injuries and maintaining long-term health. For active kids, emphasise the importance of safety goggles for sports, which can reduce the risk of eye injuries that often result in emergency room visits. Additionally, make sure to stress the significance of sunglasses for protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation has been linked to serious ocular diseases, from cataracts to photokeratitis. Encourage children to make protective eyewear a part of their routine by setting an example and encouraging all family members to use eye protection, and make the process more fun by allowing kids to choose their own frames.
Healthy food options
Ensuring a well-balanced diet is a fundamental step in combating various eye conditions and diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eyes. The significance of specific nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene, cannot be overstated. To encourage such a diet, it’s important to introduce these foods in kid-friendly meals.
Consider a few of our suggested recipes like Oat Cakes With Carrot Cake for breakfast or lunch choices such as Cucumber Sushi with generous servings of fatty tuna. By making nutrition an enjoyable and accessible part of family meals, parents can contribute significantly to their children’s overall eye health and well-being.
Screen time is on the rise, with website and app visits increasing by more than 100% in 2021 in the UK alone. Unfortunately, this increased screen time is linked to potential negative effects on eye health, such as short-sightedness. To combat this, daylight exposure is key, with studies showing that sending children outdoors for an extra 40 minutes resulted in a 10% reduction in the chance of contracting myopia.
So, consider incorporating outdoor activities into your family routine. Whether it’s engaging in sports, family walks, or simply enjoying nature, these activities contribute not only to better vision but also to enhanced physical and mental well-being.
By incorporating these easy tips into your family’s routine, you can prioritise vision care without compromising your budget. For more family and health insights, explore our other articles on maintaining a happy and healthy household.