Improving Myopia Among Children
Preserve your child’s vision
The progression of myopia is a global issue. A recent study found that on average, 30 percent of the world is currently myopic. Going by current trends, this number will rise to 50 percent by 2050 with a staggering 5 billion people living with myopia and almost 1 billion children being affected by high myopia as well.
Children of today are exposed to information digitally and hence, they tend to spend too much time on their devices and this could lead to myopia progression.
1Twenty80 speaks to Dr. Vienne Tai Pih Yih, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Cataract and Refractive Surgeon at VISTA Eye Specialist to find out more about myopia progression among children.
What is myopia?
Dr. Vienne Tai Pih Yih:
In normal vision, the image is formed on the retina. However, myopia vision is a condition whereby the image is formed behind the retina of the eye, causing defectiveness in the vision when it comes to distant objects.
Normal vision; Myopia
Quote: Children of today are exposed to information digitally and hence, they tend to spend too much time on their devices and this could lead to myopia progression.
What are the factors that contribute to myopia?
Children these days spend too much time indoors on their electronic gadgets rather than going out and doing outdoor activities. They don’t seem to understand that their actions are harmful to their vision. Hence, causing their eyes to become tired due to the close proximity with their gadgets. Nevertheless, there is a lack of emphasis from parents to support their children when it comes to outdoor activities such as playing sports or exercising that can benefit children’s eyes and overall health. To add on, other contributing factors include poor reading posture, the lack of distance from your eyes to your reading materials or gadgets and the lack of sleep.
What should parents do to prevent myopia among their children?
Parents, teachers and guardians are encouraged to observe their child’s vision as early as six months old. By doing so, you can identify if something is wrong with their vision such as when they’re standing too close to the television or holding a book too close to their eyes. Furthermore, parents should take their children for a regular eye examination from the age of three onwards. This is to find out if there’s any eye problems and early intervention can be provided.
What are some of the early intervention methods to reduce the progression of myopia?
This is one of the most important steps to take in order to reduce myopia progression among children. It is necessary to spend at least two hours engaging in outdoor activities daily or at least 10 hours per week. By doing so, the sunlight stimulates dopamine to prevent elongation of the eyeball.
Reduce the usage of electronic devices
Do not allow your children to use electronic devices for a long period of time as this can contribute to eye strain which causes myopia.
Viewing distance and reading posture
A good viewing distance for devices or reading materials would be 25 to 30 centimetres or the length of an arm away. Ensure that your child sits upright, avoid lying down or tilting his or her head while reading, using their gadgets or watching television.
Ensure that your child does not read or use gadgets under dim light. Dim light stresses the eyes which leads to myopia.
In order to avoid the pupils from dilating, it is important to have good lighting as it enhances the vision and avoids eye strain. It is recommended to use fluorescent or LED light for reading.
Avoid eye rubbing
Frequent eye rubbing may lead to astigmatism (a defect in the eyes which results in distorted vision).
An average of nine hours of sleep is important for your child to develop optimal eye vision.
Quote: “Help your children to develop better lifestyle that ensures better eye vision and eat healthily at the same time”.
What is the treatment for myopia among children?
The myopia control program has specially been designed to control the progression of myopia.
Treatment begins with a thorough eye check for children. Ophthalmologists will prescribe Atropine eye drops to prevent myopia from progressing up to 50 percent, with minimal effect on the child’s vision or focusing abilities.
In addition, ophthalmologists may also prescribe myopia control glasses or Ortho-K contact lenses. These lenses are designed to be worn during sleep to flatten and reshape the cornea which may reduce myopia progression up to 40 percent.
Nonetheless, the child will need to go for a regular check up to monitor their eyes.
What would your advice be to our readers?
The awareness of parents, teachers, and guardians are very important. If the guardian or teacher of your child informs you about your child’s poor vision, do not take it lightly. Take your child for an eye check. An early intervention is always better. If your children has poor vision, chances are high for it to affect their attention in class or other activities that they do. The most important thing to do is to take care of your child’s vision.