The COVID-19 pandemic has affected adults and children worldwide immensely. With schools encouraging studies and online lessons at home, the usage of digital devices such as computers and tablets has increased tremendously for kids. Also, parents are relaxing the rules for screen-time to keep them occupied. This, combined with reduced playtime outdoors, may harm their eyesight and increase the chances of myopia or nearsightedness, leading to serious eye problems in the future. Read on to learn more about myopia control and treatment so you can make an informed decision.
What is Myopia or Nearsightedness?
Myopia, also known as shortsightedness or nearsightedness, is a condition in which the distant objects are not clearly visible unless they are brought close to the eyes. It is a common eye disease among kids and young adults. Typically, it develops during childhood when they are in school and can progress with age.
Causes of Nearsightedness
Myopia occurs when your eyes have excessively strong focusing power, or your eyes are elongated. This leads to blurry images because the rays of light tend to focus in front of the retina.
Studies show that myopia rates have been increasing globally, typically among the children between 6 to 19 years. Here are a few reasons, according to studies and research as to why a child may develop myopia:
- Genetics is a common cause of shortsightedness in children.
- Working up close when using a tablet or mobile phone can increase the odds of nearsightedness.
- Myopia is often the result of focusing on an object within a distance of 20 centimetres frequently.
- Screen time of more than 3-6 hours a day can raise the chances of myopia in children.
Although contact lenses or glasses can help correct your child’s vision, it may increase the risk of many eye problems in the future, including glaucoma, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. This is why it is essential to consult an expert immediately.
Signs & Symptoms of Myopia in Children
Children with nearsightedness may have trouble identifying road signs when travelling, squint their eyes when looking at distant objects, and sit closer to the television to see better. Also, they may have difficulty reading the board when seated at the back of the class.
Frequently Asked Questions About Myopia, Its Control & Treatment
How Common is Shortsightedness?
Myopia has become quite common in children. Studies indicate that over 80 million children are suffering from nearsightedness worldwide. However, it tends to vary among different ethnic groups. Research shows that Asian children have a higher prevalence of myopia, followed by Hispanic, African, and Caucasian children.
Does Nearsightedness Worsen with Age?
Myopia usually develops early in children and may become worse as the child ages, especially during the teenage years. It may stabilize by the time they are in their twenties. Although it is more common in children, even adults can develop myopia.
Can Myopia Be Detected with Pediatric Eye Tests?
Qualified pediatricians can detect nearsightedness using adequate technology and equipment. They can perform what is known as Myopia Vision Testing or Nearsightedness Vision Screening to examine your child’s condition and diagnose shortsightedness. You can visit a myopia control clinic to consult an eye care professional and get an appropriate prescription for glasses and the best assistance to maintain their eyesight.
Is Myopia a Treatable Condition?
If your child has nearsightedness, be sure to visit a qualified optometrist to have their vision corrected using myopia glasses or contact lenses. In addition to this, they can also opt for refractive surgery in the future, depending on their overall health and prescription.
Can People with Myopia Develop Other Eye Diseases Too?
If you have a high degree of shortsightedness, you may also have a higher chance of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.
When Do Children Typically Develop Myopia?
Generally, nearsightedness first develops in childhood, especially in school-age children. Since the eyes continue to grow, it may progress until they are 20 years. In addition to this, even adults may have shortsightedness because of health conditions such as diabetes or visual stress.
Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle to Improve Your Child’s Eyesight
Keep the following in mind to enhance your child’s vision:
- Be sure to have a clear set of rules to limit their screen time.
- Encourage them to adopt healthy habits that involve less time in front of the television or computer to keep them occupied.
- Children under one year should avoid using digital technology.
- Kids under the age of 5 should spend less than one hour per day on digital devices, with frequent breaks.
- They should have daily outdoor playtime.
- Encourage young adults at your home to take a 30-second break from closeup work every 30 minutes.
- Remind them to keep digital media around 18 – 24 inches away from their eyes.
Managing Your Children’s Eye Health During COVID-19 Pandemic
When it comes to your child’s eye health, you can help enhance their vision by keeping a check on their screen time. It is beneficial to support the use of technology for educational uses during challenging times of coronavirus pandemic. However, it is essential to limit the time spent on video games and cartoons. In addition to this, you can also encourage your child to get involved in more outdoor activities while maintaining social distancing. Consult your eye doctor and work together with them to include eye health strategies to protect your child’s eyesight.
U Optical Can Help with Myopia Treatment, Glasses & Lenses
At U Optical, we care about your eye health and offer comprehensive eye exams along with high-grade eyewear to enhance your child’s vision. We have qualified kids’ optometrists to examine their eyes and offer suitable recommendations. If you are looking for myopia control and treatment, we can help you. Our professionals can recommend the right glasses to help improve your child’s eyesight.
For more information about myopia treatment and eyewear and eye care options, please call us at 416-292-0075. You could also book an eye exam with us by filling out our online contact form. We’ll be happy to examine your child’s eye health and help them maintain their eyesight.