As our children are growing up, we do our important duties as parents to make sure that the different parts of their body remain strong and healthy and of course, this includes the health of their eyes as well. You may have heard of myopia (short-sightedness), a condition that causes one’s vision to deteriorate. Myopia, unfortunately, is becoming an increasingly common problem among children of schooling age all over the world (1). Why is this so? What contributes to the children’s risk of getting myopia? And more importantly, how to reduce risk of myopia for your children?
During the process of our children’s learning, they naturally engage in near work activities like studying, reading, and writing, regardless of whether it is on physical or online platforms. These activities require them to maintain a short working distance between their eyes and their work and in doing so, this could serve as a potential risk factor towards developing myopia.
Research studies have identified these activities as contributing to the children’s risk of being myopic. According to a research study conducted in Australia, it was revealed that environmental risk factors, such as spending lesser time outside and engaging in more near work, played a significant part in the development of myopia among the young (2).
Not to mention, our child’s myopia can progress to a higher degree if they continue to engage in near work without taking the necessary steps to take proper care of their eyes (3).
How, then, can we reduce our child’s risk of myopia?
While it is virtually impossible to tell our children to stop reading or writing, it does not mean that there is nothing else that we can do.
Parents, do you usually spend time with your children in the comforts of your home? Is everyone usually holed up in a room either playing video games or watching some television? Perhaps, it is time for a change of scenery.
Embrace the great outdoors with your children by playing some sports with them outside of your home or you can also choose to have some family time by having a picnic at the park. Spending more time outdoors with your children is not only a great way to bond with them, but it can also help to reduce their risk of developing myopia (4).
Apart from spending more time outdoors, it is also important that our children engage in correct near-work habits so that this can help in the prevention of myopia onset and progression.
With the help of the planoApp, we can work towards reducing our children’s risk of being myopic. As the world’s first science-based application, the planoApp can enable us to protect our child’s eye health by ensuring that they practice healthy behaviors while they are engaging in online near-work.
For instance, if your child is reading or watching something online, the app will remind them to hold their device at an appropriate distance so that they will not strain their eyes. Also, if they have been using their devices for too long, the app will prompt them to take regular eye breaks and rest their eyes.
These steps may be simple by nature, but they will do a lot of your good to your children’s eye health in the long run. The cost of myopia is a heavy price to pay. Let us make sure that our children do not need to pay that price.
(1) Guo, L., Yang, J., Mai, J., Du, X., Guo, Y., Li, P., … & Zhang, W. H. (2016). Prevalence and associated factors of myopia among primary and middle school-aged students: a school-based study in Guangzhou. Eye, 30(6), 796-804.
(2) French, A. N., Morgan, I. G., Mitchell, P., & Rose, K. A. (2013). Risk factors for incident myopia in Australian schoolchildren: the Sydney adolescent vascular and eye study. Ophthalmology, 120(10), 2100-2108.
(3) Muhamedagic, L., Muhamedagic, B., Halilovic, E. A., Halimic, J. A., Stankovic, A., & Muracevic, B. (2014). Relation between near work and myopia progression in student population. Materia socio-medica, 26(2), 100.
(4) Jones, L. A., Sinnott, L. T., Mutti, D. O., Mitchell, G. L., Moeschberger, M. L., & Zadnik, K. (2007). Parental history of myopia, sports and outdoor activities, and future myopia. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 48(8), 3524-3532.
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