Simple Tricks to Prevent Dry Eye Symptoms in Children

Children’s dry eyes are rare, but it requires attention from parents as they can drastically affect ocular health. Paediatric dry eye syndrome can be due to nutritional deficiency, allergy, use of digital screens excessively or other disorders. Dry eyes can cause discomfort, pain, and itching as well as affect performance in school activities.

Symptoms of dry eye in a child: The following symptoms are alarming for parents, if any of the symptoms present seek help from an eye specialist.

  • Burning and irritation in eyes
  • Repeatedly rubbing of eyes
  • Redness in eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watering eyes continuously
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus secretion at the corners of the eyes
  • Stinging sensation as something is inside the eyes
  • Fatigue of eyes

Causes of dry eyes in a child

Dry eye is also named keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye disease (DHD). It is due to the loss of homeostasis of the tear film. The tear film is a thin fluid layer which covers the ocular surface.  In other words, when the tear film is disrupted due to increased evaporation or reduced tear production, the cornea can easily damage, and the chances of inflammation are high.

Dry eyes in children can be a lifestyle disorder due to excessive usage of digital devices such as computers, smartphones, video games etc. Sometimes it may be due to underlying systemic conditions of congenital, autoimmune, or endocrine origin.

Moreover, nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin A can cause dry eye symptoms in children. Ocular allergy also gives rise to inflammation, and dryness and affects nerves. Studies also show long-term use of contact lens contributes to children’s dry eyes.

Simple tricks to prevent dry eye symptoms in children: 

  • Limit screen time: Reducing the use of digital devices helps decrease the strain on the eyes. Children should be engaged more in outdoor activities to keep them away from the screen.
  • 20-20-20 rule: The rule suggests after working for 20 minutes on the screen, look away at 20 feet distance object for 20 seconds. Ask children to blink frequently while in front of the screen.
  • Hydrate: Ensure proper hydration throughout the day to retain moisture in the eyes.
  • Add food with Omega 3 fatty acids to diet: Foods such as flax seeds, soybean, palm oil, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon etc
  • Warm compress: Place a napkin soaked in hot water and then squeezed over the eyes for 5 minutes. If you do not feel warmth, then again dip the napkin in hot water and repeat.

It is a useful technique for managing dry eyes. It relaxes surrounding eye muscles and restores tear production.

  • Sound sleep: Parents should ensure 8 hours of good sleep for their child. Before two hours of sleeping avoid the usage of digital devices to calm down the brain.
  • Use of humidifier: If you live in a dry climate, the use of a humidifier is necessary to maintain the moisture in the environment and subsequently in your body.
  • Windy, polluted environment can hamper tear glands and decreases moisture in eyes. Wear sunglasses while going out to avoid dust and pollution.
  • Wash eyelids often to remove irritants such as dust particles.
  • Children wearing contact lenses should lubricate their eyes with drops regularly.
  • Schools can create awareness about eye health in children and conduct eye check-ups Through this screening experts can catch developing eye problems in children and further refer them for an advanced eye examination.

Parents, you cannot instantly stop dry eye symptoms in children however following healthy habits for eye care can eventually decrease the dryness of eyes. Apart from this, professional eye check-up visits are highly recommended for kids.

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Meta Description: Here are simple tips to prevent dry eye symptoms in children. A periodic eye checkup is important for healthy eyes.

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