Myopia or short-sightedness is the most common vision problem and it leads to distant objects appearing out of focus. Light that comes into the eye does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it, leading to this condition. While it’s still not known what exactly happens in the myopic eye, there are some factors that can help ensure that your child’s eyes remain healthy.
Short on Sight
Heredity is one factor in myopia, so if you or your spouse are short-sighted, your child is three times more likely to need glasses at a young age. However, there are other factors at play here as well. Researchers at the Ohio State University College of Optometry recently published a study, children who spend at least 14 hours a week outside have a lower risk of needing glasses. While the exact reasons behind this aren’t quite clear yet, there are a couple of theories put forth by eye doctors.
Between the age of 5 and 9 your child’s eyes are still growing and this growth can sometimes cause the distance between the lens and retina to increase, leading to short-sightedness. Exposure to light can help prevent this and preserve the proper length of the eyeball. Apart from this, UVB rays are partly responsible for the production of Vitamin D, which is believed to help the eye focus light on the retina. Exposure to sunlight also leads to production of dopamine in the eye, which helps prevent elongation of the eyeball – a common cause of myopia. It is also possible that when we are indoors, our eyes don’t need to focus beyond a certain distance and slowly they lose the ability to focus on faraway objects; hence the more time spent indoors, more the chances of myopia.
Symptoms of myopia are quite subtle, so it’s important that you watch out for these:
- Frequent headaches
- Squinting of eyes
- Watering eyes
- Sitting too close to television screens
Preventive measures include:
- Limit screen time of all kinds – television, computers, iPads, smartphones – to not more than two hours a day
- Teach your child to maintain an optimal distance between the eyes and a book, and not to read in low light
- While setting up the computer workstation, keep the screen at least three feet from your child’s sitting position
- Encourage outdoor activities, games and hobbies
- Most importantly, take your child for an annual eye examination
Regular eye tests, even at a young age, are absolutely imperative. Vision problems usually develop slowly and it can be easy to miss a child’s symptoms. An eye test can identify any changes or deterioration in eyesight at an early stage, so that corrective and preventive measures can be taken quickly. At your local Leightons Opticians branch, our friendly and fully qualified practitioners will do a thorough lifestyle consultation and a comprehensive eye test for your child. The lifestyle consultation will indicate how much time your child spends in front of devices and any sport activities. Our opticians will also advise you on the best eye care practices for your child. If your child needs vision correction, they will give you full product information on the variety of spectacles that we carry. So book an eye test online with Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care by clicking here. Your child’s eyesight is precious; leave it in our experienced hands.