When it comes to eyesight, kids may suffer quietly from error of refraction, which is more common (and less serious) than vision problems like lazy eye, cross eyes, and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). According to the World Health Organization, “A refractive error is a very common eye disorder. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world. The result of refractive errors is blurred vision, which is sometimes so severe that it causes visual impairment.”
Identifying error of refraction as the one that determines the grade or grado of the eyes, Dr. Pik Sha Chan-Uy, an ophthalmologist at Pacific Eye and Laser Institute, names three types of refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. “Myopia is nearsightedness, hyperopia is farsightedness, and astigmatism means that the shape of the outer part of the eye is not rounded. It is the physical defect that causes the grade. Different people can have a combination of myopia and astigmatism or hyperopia and astigmatism, but rarely myopia and hyperopia—unless it’s one eye with myopia and the other eye with hyperopia.”
Though these vision problems cannot be prevented, they can be corrected with glasses. But how about eating carrots? Does what you eat help in correcting error of refraction? The ophthalmologist says, eating healthy meals is a good way to keep the general health in check—and the eyes benefit from that a lot. Adding vitamin A-rich food like carrots and other yellow vegetables and fruits to your meals “helps prevent eye problems and slow down eye deterioration,” says Dr. Chan-Uy.
Though nutrition helps a lot, Dr. Chan-Uy clarifies, “Food doesn’t have an effect on the grade or grado of the eyes. Grado is dependent on a lot of factors—not nutrition.”
The ophthalmologist encourages parents to have their children’s eyes checked, and assures them that even if the child can’t read yet, there are ways for the doctors to check their clarity of vision. The earlier the vision is corrected, the better!