As parents, it’s normal to worry about things that can affect your children’s vision. You teach them not to look directly at the sun and do everything you can to protect their eyes.
But caring for your child’s eyes shouldn’t wait until after he or she is born. Vision development begins in the womb.
Here are some things a woman should consider during pregnancy to help her child’s visual development.
What you eat -- or don’t eat -- when you are pregnant affects how your baby grows in the womb. This is also true of your baby's vision. Fruits and vegetables contain important nutrients including vitamins A, C and E which are important for vision and brain development. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for nutrition during pregnancy.
Some medications you might take during pregnancy can indirectly affect how well your baby will see later in life. For example, taking aspirin can increase your baby’s risk of low birth weight. Low birth weight is a risk factor for vision problems in babies.
• Smoke and alcohol
Cigarettes and alcoholic drinks contain toxins or chemicals that can act like poisons for an unborn baby and can cause serious vision problems.
Talk to your doctor about what you should do during pregnancy to take care of your baby’s vision. And make sure you tell your doctor about all medications you are taking including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements.
Soon after you give birth, your doctor will examine your baby’s eyes to check for any problems. Rare conditions such as congenital cataracts need to be treated right away to limit vision problems later in life.
Your doctor will probably also put antibiotic ointment in your newborn baby’s eyes to get rid of bacteria from the birthing process and prevent eye infections.
All About Vision. Gary Heiting, OD. Your Infant’s Vision Development. Web. March 5, 2013.
All About Vision. Guide to Choosing Nutritional Supplements for Vision. Web. March 5, 2013.
About.com: Toddlers and Twos. Infant Vision Development. Stephanie Brown. Web. March 5, 2013.
American Optometric Association. Infant’s Vision. Web. March 5, 2013.
eHow.com. Vision Development in Babies. Meg Campbell. Web. March 5, 2013.
Reviewed March 6, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith