Myopia is on the rise, it is reaching level higher than before. The numbers in the UK and the west have doubled over the past 2 decades. In the Far East, over 90% of 18-year-olds are myopic. 1, 2
Parents are concerned. We overwhelmingly acknowledge that wearing glasses makes a huge impact to learning, about 40% of children are self-conscious with glasses or do not like wearing them. 3
However, the real problem starts much later. The risk of serious and potentially blinding conditions such as damage to the retina, glaucoma and cataract and is significantly higher as the amount of myopia increases. 4, 5, 6, 7
What should you be doing to help your child?
Children are spending less time outdoors than before. Being outdoors, in the presence of sunlight has a protects the eyes against myopia 8. A child should be spending at least two hours a day outdoors.
Hold books or devices further away
The research shows that the increased effort required when reading material is held too close can increase the amount of myopia 10. The distance between your child’s knuckle and the elbow (the Harmon distance), is the same distance they should be holding a book.
Take breaks from close work and device use.
It is vital to take breaks from lots of near work and look to the distance. This will relax the muscles used by the eyes to read. The muscles that turn the eyes in and those that focus the lens inside the eye. It’s the tiredness of these muscles that causes eye strain and drives more myopia. The easiest thing to remember is 20/20/20. Focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Taking a 10-15-minute break every 50 minutes also helps to improve concentration as well as helping muscles of the eye.
A recent study found that a lack of sleep increases the progression of myopia 11. Children should be getting between 9-11 hours of sleep every night.
Speak to an expert in myopia control
There is now lots of scientific research, studies and treatments that show the progression of myopia can be slowed substantially. Central Vision Opticians are one of the leading practices in the world offering reliable, safe and proven treatment options for myopia control. Call us now for more information about how to protect your child’s sight.
- The impact of myopia and high myopia. Report of the Joint World Health Organization-Brien Holden Vision Institute Global Scientific Meeting on Myopia.
- Six Year Refractive Change among White Children and Young Adults: Evidence for Significant Increase in Myopia among White UK Children Sara Jayne Mccullough, Lisa O'Donoghue, Kathryn J Saunders
- Mumsnet research on behalf of Johnson and Johnson Visioncare: Parent’s & children’s views and attitudes about vision correction. 2013
- Myopia and incident cataract and cataract surgery: the blue mountains eye study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2002 Younan C1, Mitchell P, Cumming RG, Rochtchina E, Wang JJ.
- The relationship between refractive errors and retinal detachment--analysis of 1,166 retinal detachment cases. Ogawa A1, Tanaka M.
- Prevalence and progression of myopic retinopathy in an older population, April 2002 Jerry Vongphanit, Paul Mitchell, Paul Mitchell, Jie Jin Wang
- Risk Factors for Open-Angle Glaucoma in a Japanese Population. October 2006 Yasuyuki Suzuki et al
- Myopia prevalence in Canadian school children: a pilot study February 2018 Mike Yang, Doerte Luensmann, Desmond Fonn, Lyndon W Jones et al
- Violet Light Transmission is Related to Myopia Progression in Adult High Myopia December 2017 Hidemasa Torii, Kazuhiko Ohnuma, Toshihide Kurihara et al
- Effect of Accommodation on Peripheral Eye Lengths of Emmetropes and Myopes 2017. Aldossari H, et al
- Inverse relationship between sleep duration and myopia: May 2015 Donghyun Jee, Ian G. Morgan and Eun Chul Kim