September 21 marks the beginning of Eye Care Awareness Month. Riverside College situated in Burgundy Estate, Cape Town, has highlighted the importance of good eye care and health for children. Stressing the necessity of bi-annual visits to the optometrist, the pre-primary, primary and high school, has compiled some tips on how to get your kids eyes focused and on the ball.
“If your child’s vision is not up to the task, school work and everyday activities can be discouraging and frustrating,” says school principal of Riverside College, Dave Swart. “Your child’s eyes are their portal to learning, and so it is vital that they learn how to take care of their eyes and develop good eye habits from a young age.”
Good eyesight is possibly the most important school supply your child may need, Mr. Swart offers some tips to protect your child’s vision:
- Take notice – Encourage your kids to let you know of any changes in their vision. If your child isn’t much of a talker, look out for excessive rubbing, unusual head tilting, or if you notice them having to look very closely at things.
- Cover up – Protect your children’s eyes from the sun by getting them to wear a UV blocking hat when they go outside. Let them know that they should never look directly at the sun.
- Eat right – Encourage your kids to eat a healthy diet filled with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. This will help their eyes to get the proper nutrients they need to function at their best.
- Exercise – An active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing a number of eye diseases. So, get the kids outdoors and moving on a regular basis!
- Digital detox – Prevent your child from holding digital devices too close to their eyes. The Harmon distance is a comfortable viewing distance – this is the distance from your chin to your elbow. When looking at a television, mobile or computer screen for long periods of time, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, by looking at something 20 feet away.
- Sleep right – kids should have at least eight hours of sleep each night to rest growing young bodies and eyes.
Dave Swart has been the principal of Riverside College, which is based in Cape Town’s Burgundy Estate, since 2014. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology and a postgraduate certificate in education. Swart is passionate about social work, youth counselling and life coaching, he has completed a number of Life Line courses and runs a counselling service called Introspect Life Coaching.
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On behalf of Riverside College:
Founder: Elana Edwards