Kids are spending increasing amounts of time on screens and less time outside playing. This is especially true with the pandemic upheaving our lives and forcing us to stay home for virtual learning or work from home. The consequences are not just limited to heightened obesity rates. Studies have shown that having less sunlight could actually change the ways that a child’s eyes develop, resulting in a myopia epidemic that rises in tandem with the obesity crisis. You need to encourage your child to spend more time outdoors to protect their eyesight and prevent myopia.
Downsides of Spending Time Indoors
According to a recent Australian study, kids who spend only about 20 minutes per day outdoors experience quicker growth in the length of their eyes than those who log more hours in bright eyes. This can result in myopia and trouble seeing faraway objects. Thankfully, there are some ways available that you can still use to keep an eye on your child’s eyesight. They are listed as follows.
Not Enough Outdoor Time
Spending at least 2-3 hours outdoors has been shown to delay or prevent the onset of myopia in children. Make sure to send your children outside to play every day, especially if they’re at risk of developing myopia!
Encourage Outdoor Time
Our eyes need an optimal amount of bright light that can be gotten from outdoors. Therefore, by aiming for around 40 minutes of outdoor time daily, not only can your children get the physical activity that they need that day, but it can also be beneficial to their eyes and help to prevent the onset of myopia.
Look out for Warning Signs
It is important to look out for warning signs that your child might have myopia so that they can get treated for it early. Children suffering from myopia may squint, constantly feel the need to rub their eyes or complain of consistent headaches, they may also start having trouble with their academic grades. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with an optometrist.
Schedule Regular Screenings
To help prevent or manage myopia, it is important to have regular eye screenings for your child. Doctors recommend yearly vision screenings either by your child’s pediatrician or their school as well as a vision screen at well-child visits through age 4. Newborn babies should also have their vision tested before they leave the hospital, and before your child hits the age of 5, it is important to take them to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a thorough checkup if they are suffering from any vision concerns or have a family history of vision concerns.
If Your Child Has Myopia, We Can Help!
What many don’t realize is that myopia can seriously affect a child's future eye health and vision. Having myopia in childhood significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, and macular degeneration in adulthood.
The good news is that myopia can be effectively managed to reduce the risk of future eye disease. You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Visit our Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses online scheduleror call 505-806-1432 to make an appointment. Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!