why you must have a yearly eye exam

Myopia Is On The Rise: How Can You Protect Your Children?

A newly released report states myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is on the rise. It further predicts that 50% of the world's population will be short-sighted within the next 35 years. While myopia can be managed with early intervention, it is possible for blindness to occur if the myopia is ignored. Lifestyle changes could be the key to reducing the impact of myopia in your children, so where do you begin?

Get Your Kids Outside

Back in 2011, an increase in myopia in children was already being noticed, and the correlation was made that children who spent more time outside had a reduced myopia rate. At that time, the exact reason why being outside reduced myopia wasn't fully determined, but there were a number of theories.

Increased exposure to the sun could be one reason why being outside reduced myopia. An Australian researcher concluded that Australian children have a lower rate of myopia than American children. The difference being that Australian children spend an average of three hours or more outside during the day, whereas American children only average one or two hours.

Even if you want to take the science out of the equation, sending your kids outside to play in the fresh air is healthy. It gets their focus away from electronics such as video games and computers, and it lets the eyes wander freely while they play with their friends. This reduced lack of continual focus has to be of benefit to the eyes of your children.

Reduce Electronics Exposure

At present, there are no studies that show a definitive link between the continual use of electronics by children and an increased rate of myopia. Eye fatigue is the only eye condition that is medically linked to electronics use, but as a parent, it does pay to be cautious.

If your child is younger than two, your pediatrician has already recommended they don't have any electronics time at all. This is because, during this period of growth, it is preferred a young child learns how to interact with people rather than computer screens. After two and even up to the teenage years, it is recommended that one to two hours per day of electronics use should be the benchmark.

Ask yourself why the increase in myopia percentages of children seems to mirror the rise of electronics use over the past few years. While studies may not yet have the data to back up this claim, there is still a possibility a link exists.

Regular Eye Checks

Your child's first visit to a stand-alone optometrist (rather than having their eyes checked by a pediatrician) should take place around the age of five. This is so any eye problems can be diagnosed and corrected before they head off to school. Your child needs to be able to easily see and read the blackboard in the classroom if they are going to be able to fully learn everything going on in front of them.

After this first visit, an annual checkup is encouraged. The myopia condition has traditionally begun in the childhood years, and a child who has nearsighted parents is at a higher risk to develop the condition themselves.

Myopia can be corrected by the use of external lenses such as glasses or contacts. Obviously, the delicateness of contact lenses does not make them a good choice for younger children, but they are a good correcting tool for teenagers.

Don't let your child's myopia send them towards blindness because it was not diagnosed early enough. Between optometrist care and making a few changes to their lifestyle, it is possible to reduce the chances of your child becoming a myopia statistic.

For more information and tips, contact a local eye clinic, such as Arizona Eye Specialists.