In recent years, we have noticed in our clinic an alarming rise in the number of children who suffer from Myopia - “Shortsightedness”
Worldwide, there has been more than 60% increase in children with Myopia over the past 30 years. A large survey done in Taiwan last year reveals that about 20% of first grade and over 60% of sixth grade children need glasses.
What is Myopia?
“Myopia” or “Shortsightedness” is the difficulty to see far objects clearly. This condition is a result of inability of the eye to focus the light rays entering the eye on the “Retina” (The layer of neurons responsible for detecting light)
What causes “Myopia”?
- Genetics: If a parent had glasses at an early age, it is more likely the child will need one as well.
- Poor lighting: Children who read in a low light environment (Reading book at bedtime) may develop myopia.
- Screens: There is a strong correlation between time spent with computers, Tablets (iPad etc), smartphones and video games and the development of vision problems. The straining of eyes over a long period of time, gazing into computers, Tablets and phone screens especially at a young age causes damage to the developing eyes of the child. Bad vision can have a significant effect on the child’s studies (If he can’t see the board at the classroom) can cause eye discomfort and headache, and even interfere with social interactions.
Watching TV at an early age has also been connected to developing learning difficulties and attention disorder later on.
It is advisable to avoid watching TV or Videos in the first 2 years of life and to minimize “Screen time” (TV, Video games, Phone use, Tablets) to less than an hour a day in total for children and adolescents.
At the clinic we perform yearly Vision screening tests to all kids 4 years old and above to detect Myopia and the need for Optometric evaluation.
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