If you’re dreading the idea of bringing your kids to get their eyes checked, or think that spectacles are the panacea for all things short-sighted, think again. Myopia (short-sightedness) is a disorder of the eye that causes far away objects to appear blurry. It is one of the world’s most common health problems, affecting an estimated one-third of the global population today. If left undetected and untreated, myopia may lead to other sight-threatening eye conditions in the long run. There’s definitely more than meets the eye to myopia.
Myopia and High Myopia
So why there’s more than meets the eye to myopia?
Myopia is caused by a change in the structure of our eyes, brought about by both environmental and genetic factors. Depending on its severity, myopia can be classified into three types:
Low myopia: Between -0.50 and -3.00 diopters
Moderate myopia: Between -3.00 and -6.00 diopters
High myopia: -6.00 diopters or more
High myopia isn’t just about extreme short-sightedness and thicker spectacles. It may lead to a slew of other, more serious complications, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts. Children who develop myopia before they are seven years old have been found to be twice as likely to develop high myopia later in their lives. This is particularly concerning in countries where the prevalence of myopia is high, such as Singapore, where 6 in 10 children have myopia before they reach secondary school. That’s the bad news.
Dealing with Myopia
The good news is that while parents can’t control the genetic factors of myopia, they are able to control the environmental factors. These include lack of outdoor time and too much time on near work activities. Near work activities are things like reading books and engaging in mobile devices. In short, don’t spend too much time indoors and on near work activities, and take regular eye breaks when reading books and using mobile devices every so often.
Equally as important, it is also vital to have the right attitude when dealing with myopia. A study in Ireland found that less than half of the parents’ surveyed regarded myopia as a health risk. Some viewed it as an expense, while others viewed it a cosmetic inconvenience. A few even saw it as a sign of intelligence. That said, parents who viewed myopia as a health risk were more likely to limit screen time for their kids.
Ultimately, parents have the most authority to encourage an eye-healthy environment in their family. Children spend most of their time at home after all. Parents will also be the ones most likely to know when their child might have myopia, and help them pick their first pair of corrective spectacles. To that end, planoEyecheck offers an easy, convenient and safe one-stop-booking platform to secure an eye check appointment for both you and your children from a host of selected partners.