Vision. It’s how we take in the world. Crucial developments early in childhood can profoundly affect vision throughout life. It’s therefore important to detect anomalies early in life, protect against dangerous environmental exposures, and provide the body with key components needed for optimal eye development.
Statistics have reported that 5–10% of preschool children may have undetected vision anomalies.1 For those with significant vision defects, early intervention is needed to improve the likelihood of achieving normal vision. This is because the development of the visual cortex in the brain depends on the quality of visual input from the eyes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends vision risk assessment as early as 12 months of age if a photoscreener or autorefractor is available to your healthcare provider (both are instruments used to screen for vision problems).3 The AAP further recommends that specific screening should occur at 3–4 years of age and include tests of monocular (one-eye) vision in both eyes.3,4 Numerous medical organizations recommend that screening should then occur every one to three years throughout the entirety of adolescence.3,4,5 If your child hasn’t recently been screened, consider scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider to catch any potentially undiagnosed vision problems.
While screening for vision abnormalities is a crucial component of eye health, protecting the eyes against harmful exposures is also critical. Prolonged exposure to UV light, particularly UVB light, has been linked to less than optimal eye health.6 Children should wear eyewear to protect against damaging UV rays wherever UV exposure exists. Look for sunglasses that are labeled to block 99%–100% of UV rays or are marked with the label “UV absorption up to 400 nm,” which is equivalent to 100% protection against UV rays. There is also new evidence that suggests that ingestion of omega-3 essential fatty acids may help maintain the health of the eye even after environmental exposures.7
Promoting Growth and Function
No vision health program would be complete without discussion of factors that promote healthy visual development and growth. Of the numerous nutrients required for proper eye development through infancy and childhood, omega-3 essential fatty acids are one of the most important. In a systematic review article, omega-3 essential fatty acids were found to have numerous cellular effects, playing a key role in cellular membrane function, cellular signaling, and in the regulation of key growth factors.8 Omega-3 fatty acids also play a key role in eye function by supporting proper function of the photoreceptor rhodopsin.9 Vitamin A is also vital to eye function, particularly for its role in night vision. Vitamin A also helps maintain the health of various tissues of the eye, such as the cornea.10
Regular screening, eye protection, and essential nutrients are important components of children’s eye health. To provide the optimal nutrients for eye health, take advantage of the powerful array of nutrients delivered by doTERRA a2z Chewable™ and IQ Mega®. IQ Mega provides the omega-3 essential fatty acids needed to promote healthy eye development and function. The combination of these two powerful products provides an ideal nutritional setting to promote children’s eye health.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.