Some ways to look after your eyes
Because the eyes are so precious, we need to really take care of them.
- Take care to protect your eyes when you are playing, especially in sports, eg. wear goggles for snow skiing, helmets and guards for cricket and baseball.
- Turn on lights when it's getting dark (especially if you're reading).
- Wear sunglasses and hats on bright days.
- Tell your parent if your eyes are sore.
- Tell your teacher if you can't see clearly the blackboard/whiteboard or your book clearly.
- Tell your teacher if the text is not clear.
- Keep sunscreen away from your eyes - it really stings if it runs into your eyes.
- Wear your glasses if you need them.
- Don't wear other people's glasses.
- Your eyes get sore if you watch a computer or TV screen for too long, so do lots of different things in your spare time (you need exercise, and so do your eyes).
- Looking directly at the sun (or any really bright light, including lightning) can damage your eyes.
- Rubbing your eye if you get something in it can hurt your eye, so ask an adult to help you or wash your eyes with water until it feels better.
- Use the correct drops/medication for your eyes if you need them, and do not use any that someone else has used.
- Wear protective glasses when you are gardening or at all other times when dirt or other things might fly into your eyes.
Exercise your eyes!
Reading, writing, using a computer, watching TV or staring at a small screen on a video game can all make your eyes feel dry and tired.
Some doctors think that too much close work can even lead to short-sightedness (myopia [say: my-oh-peea]), which means that you can only see things clearly when you are up close to them.
You can help your eyes by exercising them. Here are a few things you can try.
- Every 20 minutes let your eyes take a break.
- Look away from the page or screen and slowly blink your eyes 10 times.
- Close your eyes and slowly roll your eyeballs round clockwise 2 times then 2 times anti-clockwise.
- Look to the left then to the right 2 times with your eyes closed then do the same looking up and down. Move your eyes slowly.
- Look at something further away and focus on it while you count to 10 then look at the screen or page while you count to 10. Do this 5 times.
The rest of your body needs a break too. Close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths holding the air in for 10 before breathing out. Stand up and move around a bit. Roll your shoulders, bend sideways and slowly roll your head around.
If you have problems seeing clearly your doctor or optometrist (eye doctor) may give you some other exercises which may help.
Sunglasses and hats
- All children (and adults) should wear sunglasses if they are going to be in bright sunlight.
- Babies usually don't wear sunglasses - they might poke the sunglasses in their eyes! Babies should be sheltered from the sun by a hat, shade umbrella or the shade of a tree or roof.
- It is important that everyone's eyes are protected from sun damage. Sunglasses should pass the Australian standards to protect eyes from the sun. There will be a sticker telling you this on the glasses.
- Hats that shade the eyes are important.
Safety for other people
Here are some ways to help make sure you don't hurt anyone else's eyes.
- throw sand, dirt or small things at others
- run with pointy things like pencils or scissors in your hands
- fire anything at others, eg. Spud gun, peashooter, paper planes, etc.
- spray insects or use any other kind of spray without warning others.
Can you think of other things that might hurt someone's eyes?
Injuries can easily happen, so you have to really think about what you are doing. Wouldn't it be awful if someone's eyes were hurt and it was your fault?
Could you have a problem?
What if your eyes don't work properly or don't see as well as they should?
Lots of people have problems with their eyes. Sometimes you don't even know you have a problem at first because you don't know that everyone else can see things differently.
Some people who have problems with their eyes say "I can see what they are doing, but I can't see who is doing it". You can miss a lot of things if you can't see well.
Here are some things that might tell you that you are not seeing as well as you could:
- You can't see the board.
- Writing looks blurry.
- Your eyes hurt or feel tired.
- Your eyes feel hot, or they sting or twitch.
- You get headaches when you've been reading or writing for a while.
- It's hard to copy from the board.
- You can't tell the difference between some colors.
- You keep losing your place when reading or copying.
- You need your book close up to your eyes to be able to read it.
- When you look up from your work everything looks blurred or misty.
What to do
If you are worried or not sure if you have a problem with your eyes, tell your parents or carers or a teacher.
What happens next?
Have your eyes tested. This does not hurt, and it helps to find out if there is anything wrong. You may need to see a special eye doctor or an optician (say op-tish-an) for this.
Here are some of the things that an eye doctor or optician may suggest if your eyes need help:
- doing special eye exercises.
- wearing glasses for a short time.
- wearing glasses for a long time.
- wearing contact lenses if you are old enough. These can be great and you can get them in different colors, but they take some getting used to and you may have to keep getting new ones as you grow. It's better to wait until you're older, then they'll last for a longer time (they're pretty expensive too and they don't give your eyes as much protection from injury as glasses.) You can also get disposable contact lenses when you're grown up if you prefer not to wear glasses sometimes, eg when you are playing sport or dancing.