Dry eyes in children are becoming more common in recent times. Contributing factors include changes in dietary habits with more saturated fatty foods and meats in diet, increase in screen usage (online classes) and staying in climate-controlled interiors (air conditioning or heating). With air pollution making it harsh for the eyes to maintain good health, it is important that we talk about one of the worst side effects of air pollutants on the eyes — dry eyes.
We spoke to Dr Digvijay Singh, Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist, Madhukar Rainbow Children Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, to get an idea about the various causes and trigger points of dry eyes in children, and how a parent can help their little one to fight the condition.
Dry Eyes In Kids: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Dry eyes can be extremely uncomfortable for anyone, irrespective of age. For kids, the dryness makes their eyes feel stretched out and itchy. In fact, dry eye syndrome often causes a sandy, gritty sensation especially in the morning that usually gets worse as the day passes. When left untreated for a long time, dry eyes can also cause your child to have blurry vision, and in some cases, it can also lead to severe eye complications. But dry eyes don’t usually cause lasting problems with vision.
Speaking to TheHealthSite.com, Dr Digvijay Singh said, “If a child is having irritation on eyes, frequent blinking of eyes repeated rubbing of eyes, on and off redness of eyes, sleepy sensation or watering from eyes, he or she could be having dry eyes.”
Talking about the available treatment options or what a parent can do to keep their little ones’ eyes safe from suffering such a complication, he added, “Dry eyes treatment mostly includes reducing screen time, reducing exposure to air conditioning or heating, increasing g water intake (children often don’t drink enough water), including nuts and flax seeds in their diet and encouraging the child to blink frequently when in front of the screen and take regular breaks. If these modifications don’t help, eyedrops for lubricating the eyes are prescribed.”
What Happens When You Ignore Dry Eyes?
Persistent Dry eyes pose a risk of eye infections and allergies as well as reduce the attention span and quality of learning of children. The dryness in the eyes should be treated on time to avert severe consequences. Here are some common dry eye syndrome symptoms in children:
Unexplained redness around the eyes
Constant eye rubbing
Difficulty in reading or watching anything on the screen
Burning sensation in and around the eyes
Veering away from sources of light
(Note: Make sure to get your little ones’ eyes tested as and when anything unusual appears. Eyes are deliv=cate organs of the body, and proper care should always be taken to keep them safe.)