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Understanding Myopia in Children

myopia

Clearing the Blur: Understanding Myopia in Children

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition that affects millions of children
worldwide. Nearsightedness isn’t just a vision problem; it’s a condition that can lead to a
cascade of issues. When a child’s eye elongates, it becomes more vulnerable to eye diseases
such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and cataracts later in life. Beyond the physical
implications, myopia can also have social and economic consequences for children. Kids who
require glasses or contacts may feel self-conscious and might experience a decrease in their
athletic performance. Additionally, as the need for corrective eyewear increases, so does the
financial burden on families, potentially affecting their economic well-being.

Screen Time’s Role

Near work, like staring at screens, is one of the most studied risk factors for myopia
progression. The habits developed during the pandemic, such as increased gaming and
homework screen time, are still on the rise, putting children at greater risk. Moreover, the
current educational landscape is shifting towards a digital format, further exacerbating the
problem.

Three Tips to Combat Myopia

1. Outdoor Time: Encourage your child to spend at least two hours a day outdoors.
Research suggests that spending time in natural light can delay the onset of myopia.

2. Screen Time Management: Limit screen time to 30 minutes at a time and ensure your
child takes breaks to rest their eyes. Adjust screens to be at a comfortable- typically
arm’s length-distance to reduce eye strain.

3. Prioritize Sleep: Children who maintain consistent sleep patterns are less likely to
develop myopia. Ensure your child gets sufficient and regular sleep.

Identifying Myopia in Children

If you suspect your child might have myopia, being proactive is essential. Engage in
conversations about their vision—ask if they can see the board at school or their friends down
the hall. Kids often don’t realize they have a vision issue. When you identify a potential problem,
schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. It’s crucial for parents to be open-minded about
managing myopia and to listen to the guidance of healthcare professionals. Myopia is not
reversible, but it can be managed effectively with special glasses, contact lenses, or other
interventions recommended by your eye doctor. One such intervention is the Treehouse Eyes
Vision System treatment plan, which shows a 78% decrease in the progression of patient’s
myopia than compared to patients who don’t receive treatment.

Eye Exams and Beyond

I recommend that children have their first official eye exam before kindergarten at the latest to
acquire a comprehensive assessment of your child’s eye health and visual function. If you
notice an eye turn or any other eye abnormality, Optometrists are able to give a thorough eye
exam at any age. Regular eye exams can catch issues beyond myopia, such as tracking

problems and ocular motor dysfunction, which may manifest as reading difficulties and even
mimic conditions like dyslexia and ADHD.

As the landscape of education and technology evolves, so does the prevalence of myopia in
children. By being proactive, managing screen time, and ensuring outdoor activities and quality
sleep, parents can help combat myopia and ensure their child’s visual health. Stay open-
minded, ask questions, and trust the guidance of healthcare professionals to safeguard your
child’s vision and well-being.

 

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