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5 Important Eye Care Tips For Kids

Your child’s ability to see the world relies on healthy eyes. By teaching them how to care for their eyes, you help protect them from injury and ensure their eyes and vision remain healthy in the long run. Here are our 5 top eye care tips for kids.

Good Eye Care Habits for Children

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Drink Plenty of Water

A nutritious diet and healthy eyes go hand in hand. Encourage your child to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and prioritize foods rich in vitamin A found in green leafy and yellow vegetables. Eggs are also rich in important nutrients, containing vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, all vital for eye health.

Another thing to look out for is hydration. Proper hydration plays a key role in maintaining healthy eyes and a healthy body, so make sure your child drinks plenty of water (the appropriate amount will vary according to your child’s age, level of physical activity and weather conditions).

2. Wear Eye Protection

Physical activity is enjoyable and healthy, but make sure your child is wearing the right protective eyewear, like safety goggles, anytime they participate in sports or activities that could cause an eye injury (i.e. playing ball, hockey, carpentry). Wearing a helmet for sports like riding a bicycle protects against concussions, which can result in lingering vision problems, and are usually preventable.

Furthermore, provide your child with good UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s UV radiation. Staring directly at the sun, or the light rays reflecting off water and snow, can potentially cause retinal burns, in addition to long term damage.

3. Give The Eyes a Rest

Staring at the school board and school books all day, followed by playing video games or watching TV in the evening can cause eye strain. Be sure your child gets sufficient sleep to allow their eyes to rest. Replace evening activities with those that don’t require intense eye focusing: going to the park, playing outdoors with friends, or simply lying down with their eyes closed while listening to music or an audiobook.

4. Reduce Time Spent on Digital Devices

Spending time on digital devices and staring at screens is an integral part of our lives. Playing video games, watching videos on their smartphones and playing computer games, all require the eyes to fixate for extended periods of time, which can lead to digital eye strain, headaches and even dry eyes.

Experts believe that the number of hours spent on screens is the driving force behind the myopia pandemic. Try to reduce the amount of time your child spends on the screen by getting your child to participate in other activities, such as sports. If you are worried about the hours your child is spending on a screen myopia management can mitigate their risk of developing future eye problems.

5. Get Their Eyes Checked Regularly

School-aged children’s vision can change often, and unexpectedly, until the late teenage years. Left uncorrected, poor eyesight can interfere with learning, and cause behavioral and attention issues.

Getting a routine eye exam is important as it can uncover vision problems, detect eye conditions early on, and significantly increase the odds of preserving long-term eye health. For those who wear glasses or contacts, it’s important to check for any changes and update the prescription as needed.

Ensure your child’s eyes are being cared for properly by scheduling an eye exam with Family Eye Care in Old Bridge today. Your child’s eye doctor can further educate them on eye safety and answer any questions you or your child may have.

Q&A

My kid frequently rubs their eyes. Is that bad?

Kids often rub their eyes, especially if they have allergies, irritated eyes, or they feel like something is stuck in their peepers. Rubbing can scratch the cornea, and transfer bacteria from the child’s hands to their eyes, causing an eye infection.

Instead of rubbing, have them wash their eyes with cool water to flush out any foreign body or irritant, and ease inflammation. If the problem persists, contact your child’s optometrist.

Other than reducing screen time, is there anything else I can do to maintain eye health & safety?

When you’re at home, keep an eye on your children’s playtime and make sure that none of their toys — or the toys at their friends’ homes — are sharp. Sharp plastic swords and toys with jagged edges can cause serious eye injuries.

Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

A question we are often asked is: ‘Is my child too young for contact lenses?’

This is an important question, and the answer may surprise you. 

For children with myopia (nearsightedness), contact lenses can be one of the ways we can address 2 problems at the same time.  One, vision correction, and two, prevention of the worsening of myopia.

In our office, at times, we can even address Amblyopia (lazy eye) with special therapeutic contact lenses.

Contact Lenses have the benefit of a child not breaking or losing their glasses.  It enables children to easily participate in sports and other physical activities. 

Some children and young teens ask their parents for contact lenses because they feel self-conscious wearing glasses. Contact lenses may even provide children with the confidence boost they need to come out of their shell. Daily Disposable contact lenses are single-use one-day soft contacts, since there is no cleaning or maintenance involved. 

Ortho-keratology are special lenses worn as a night retainer, to prevent further progression of myopia.

Some parents are concerned about eye health and safety. Fortunately, contact lenses are just as safe for children as they are for anyone else, and there are special lenses, MiSight that are FDA approved SPECIFICALLY FOR CHILDREN to prevent them from progressing as rapidly in myopia.  This means that the manufacturer had to prove to the FDA that they are

  1. safe for children, AND 
  2. control the progression of myopia.

In our practice, Family Eye Care, we provide special care for children, teens, and patients of all ages with a wide variety of contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the safety of contacts for your child, we’ll be happy to explain and explore ways to ensure maximum safety, optimal eye health and comfort. To learn more or to schedule a pediatric eye exam for contact lenses, contact us today. 

What Are the Risks of Having My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

A study published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found that kids aren’t at a higher risk of experiencing contact lens complications. 

The study followed nearly 1000 children aged 8-16 over the course of 1.5-3 years to determine how contact lenses affected their eye health. 

The results indicate that age doesn’t have an effect on contact lens safety. In fact, the researchers found that the risk of developing infections or other adverse reactions was less than 1% per year of wear — which is comparable to contact lens wearers of other ages.

But before you decide that contact lenses are right for your child, you may want to consider whether your child is ready to wear them. During his or her eye doctor’s appointment, the optometrist may ask about your child’s level of maturity, responsibility, and personal hygiene. Since many children are highly motivated to wear contacts, they tend to display real maturity in caring for their lenses. That said, in the initial stages, parents may need to play an active role, as their child gets used to inserting and removing the new contact lenses.  

It’s important to note that just as with any other medical device, contact lenses are not risk-free. Anyone who wears contact lenses has a chance of developing eye infections or other complications with contact lenses. However, when worn and cared for according to your eye doctor’s instructions, contact lenses are low-risk and perfectly safe for children and teenagers.

So, go ahead and bring your child in for a contact lens consultation! We’ll help determine if your child is ready for contacts and answer any questions you or your child may have. To schedule your child’s contact lens fitting or eye exam, contact Family Eye Care in Old Bridge today.  

Sports-Related Eye Injuries

September Is Sports Eye Safety Month!

Ocular sports trauma is among the leading causes of permanent vision loss in North America. Tens of thousands of people get treated for sports-related eye injuries a year, with the most common injuries occurring during water sports and basketball. Infections, corneal abrasions, eye socket fractures, and detached retinas are just a few of the typical cases eye doctors encounter on a regular basis.

Sports Eye Safety Month is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) to remind people to protect their eyes when playing sports. Though young children are usually the most vulnerable to eye injuries, it should be noted that professional athletes can also suffer eye injuries while on the job. 

Eye accidents can happen in a split second – the effects can last a lifetime…

By wearing protective eyewear, you can safeguard your eyesight without compromising on your favorite sports activities. Athletes who wear contact lenses still need additional eye protection for relevant sports.

At Family Eye Care, our eye doctor is experienced and trained to treat sports-induced eye injuries sustained by our active patients. Dr. Moshe Roth and our dedicated staff are committed to providing the most comprehensive eye care to help get you back on the field again. Furthermore, we provide consultations on a wide array of protective eyewear for all your sporting needs. 

What Eye Injuries Can Be Caused by Sports?

Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion, also known as a scratched cornea, is the most common sports-related eye injury. When someone gets poked in the eye, the eye’s surface can get scratched. Symptoms may include acute pain and a gritty or foreign body sensation in the eyes, as well as redness, tearing, light sensitivity, headaches, blurry or decreased vision. Medical care includes prevention or treatment of infection, and pain management. If you suspect that you have suffered a corneal abrasion, make sure to see an eye doctor right away. 

Traumatic Iritis

Iritis is an inflammation of the iris, the colored part of the eye. The condition rapidly develops and typically affects only one eye. Symptoms include pain in the eye or brow region, blurred vision, a small or oddly-shaped pupil, and sensitivity to bright lights. 

Hyphema

Hyphema is among the more common sports-related eye injuries, with racquet sports, baseball and softball accounting for more than 50% of all hyphema injuries in athletics. 

A hyphema is a broken blood vessel inside the eye which causes blood to collect in the space between the cornea and iris, also known as the “anterior chamber”. Although the main symptom is blood in the eye, it can be accompanied by blurry or distorted vision, light sensitivity or eye pain.  

If you recognize the signs and symptoms of hyphema, make sure to seek immediate medical attention in order to avoid secondary complications. 

Angle recession

Angle recession can develop from an eye injury or bruising of the eye, caused by getting punched, elbowed, or hit with a ball. The trauma damages the fluid drainage system of the eye, which causes it to back up, increasing the pressure in the eye. In 20% of people with angle recession, this pressure can become so severe that it damages the optic nerve, and causes glaucoma (known as “angle-recession glaucoma”). 

You may not notice any symptoms at first, and it may take years before you experience any signs of vision loss. Therefore, it’s critical to visit the eye doctor as soon as possible for a complete eye exam and make sure that you follow-up with routine screenings. 

Retinal tear or detachment

Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina gets lifted or pulled away from its normal position at the back of the eye. If not treated immediately, retinal detachment can develop permanent vision loss.

Symptoms include seeing flashing lights, floaters or little black spots in your vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency and requires an eye doctor’s immediate attention – surgical intervention may be necessary.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage 

This happens when a blood vessel breaks on the white part of the eye. In addition to a sport-related injury, it can be induced by rubbing the eye, heavy lifting, sneezing or coughing. For those with subconjunctival hemorrhage, the eye appears intensely red – though this minor condition will often clear up within a couple weeks on its own without treatment.

Orbital Fracture 

This occurs when one or more of the bones around the eyeball break, often caused by a hard blow to the face – such as by a baseball or a fist. This is a major injury and should be assessed by an eye doctor, like Dr. Moshe Roth, along with X-Rays or CT scan imaging to help confirm the diagnosis.

Black Eye or Periorbital Hematoma

A “shiner” can occur when a blunt object such as a fist or ball strikes the eye-area of the face and causes bruising. Typically, this kind of injury affects the face more than the eye. Blurry vision may be a temporary symptom, but it’s a good idea to get a black eye checked out by an optometrist in any case, because sometimes there is accompanying damage to the eye which could impact vision.

How Does One Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries?

One of the most important things one can do in order to prevent eye injuries is to wear protective eyewear. In fact, wearing eye protection should be part of any athlete’s routine, and should be prioritized just like wearing shin guards or a helmet. 

Below are a few tips to prevent sports-related eye injuries: 

  • Wear safety goggles (with polycarbonate lenses) for racquet sports or basketball. For the best possible protection, the eye guard or sports protective eyewear should be labeled “ASTM F803 approved” – which means it is performance tested.
  • Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for baseball.
  • If you wear prescription eyewear, speak with Dr. Moshe Roth about fitting you for prescription protective eyewear.
  • Sports eye protection should be comfortably padded along the brow and bridge of the nose, to prevent the eye guards from cutting into the skin.
  • Try on protective eyewear to assess whether it’s the right fit and size for you and adjust the straps as needed. For athletic children who are still growing, make sure that last-year’s pair still fits before the new sports season begins. Consult Dr. Moshe Roth to determine whether the comfort and safety levels are adequate. 
  • Keep in mind that regular glasses don’t provide nearly enough eye protection when playing sports. 

For athletes, whether amateur or pro, there is so much more at stake than just losing the game. Fortunately, by wearing high-quality protective eyewear, you can prevent 90% of all sports-related eye injuries. 

Speak with Dr. Moshe Roth at Family Eye Care about getting the right sports-related protective eyewear to ensure healthy eyes and clear vision. Our eye care clinic serves patients from Old Bridge and the surrounding areas. 

How Can Orthokeratology Help

How Can Orthokeratology Help With Myopia Management?

Is your child wearing glasses or contact lenses for myopia? Is their optical prescription continually worsening every 12 to 18 months? If so, it may be time for a myopia management program featuring ortho-k contact lenses.


Orthokeratology, or “ortho-k,” is an overnight process of vision correction that leaves your child free of daytime eyewear. Along with the convenience of not having to wear glasses or contacts during the day, ortho-k has been shown to slow down or even stop the progression of a child’s myopia. An additional — yet compelling — benefit is the reduced risk of developing serious ocular conditions and diseases later in life, such as macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

If your child has myopia, speak with Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno regarding the benefits of wearing ortho-k lenses for myopia management.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is an extremely prevalent eye condition that begins in childhood and usually continues to worsen during the teenage years. Myopia results when the eye shape becomes more elongated as a child grows. This causes light from distant objects to focus in front of, rather than precisely on the retina, causing blurred and distorted vision.

The continual eyeball elongation causes the optical prescription to worsen over the years, generally into the mid-to-late teens.

While glasses or regular contact lenses correct distorted vision, they don’t address the underlying problem, and thus are unable to prevent your child’s prescription from increasing into young-adulthood. Orthokeratology, on the other hand, addresses the root cause of myopia and can halt its progression.

Understanding Orthokeratology

teen smiling 6 640Orthokeratology goes by a few names:

  • Ortho-k
  • CRT (Corneal Reshaping Therapy)
  • Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVT or GVST)
  • Vision Shaping Treatment (VST)
  • Corneal Molding

Regardless of the name used, ortho-k is an established non-surgical method of vision correction that has been safely used for over 20 years. We will carefully measure the child’s eye and order custom-fitted and specially-designed rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses.

The ortho-k lenses are to be worn overnight, during which time they gently correct the shape of the cornea. The lenses are then removed in the morning, leaving your child with crisp and clear vision all day long. As mentioned above, ortho-k not only corrects vision but can also slow —or even halt — the progression of myopia in children.

Who Can Benefit From Orthokeratology?

Both children and adults can benefit from the vision correction provided by ortho-k, though ortho-k may be the ideal solution for myopia management in children. While it is too late to slow the progression of myopia in adulthood, myopic children who wear ortho-k lenses can further benefit by lowering any risks associated with ocular diseases later in life.

What Is The Fitting Process For Ortho-k Lenses?

At Family Eye Care, our patients undergo a full ortho-k assessment before being fitted for these lenses. We will evaluate the health of your child’s eye and determine the exact corrective prescription. To measure the precise curvature of the child’s cornea, Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno will use a topographer, ensuring these customized lenses are a perfect fit.

After the initial fitting, patients will be provided with detailed instructions and in-clinic training on how to insert, remove, and care for their ortho-k contact lenses. A few periodic check-ups will help ascertain any changes in refraction and corneal topography, and adjustments to the lenses will be made accordingly.

Ortho-K Is An Investment For Lifelong Healthy Vision

By giving your child the gift of ortho-k lenses, you will improve your child’s daytime vision while also significantly reducing their risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. The myopia management program at Family Eye Care offers the best chance of controlling myopia and preserving your child’s eyes for a lifetime of clear, comfortable, and healthy vision.

Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, and throughout New Jersey.

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