Delaying the Onset of Myopia in your Children - Finchley's Multi-Award Winning Opticians Practice
delay the onset of myopia in your child

Delaying the Onset of Myopia in your Children

What you should be doing before your child becomes myopic

As parents, we strive to give our children the best possible start in life. From their first steps to their first day of school, we want to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed. One critical aspect of their well-being that often goes overlooked is their vision. Myopia, or short-sightedness, is becoming increasingly common in children, and if you’re a parent who is myopic, you might be concerned about your child's eye health. Myopia can have a genetic element, if you have myopia, your kids will be between 3 to 6 times more likely to be myopic. The good news is that there are several actionable steps you can take to help delay the onset of myopia in your children. Let's explore these strategies, each designed to nurture not just their vision but their overall well-being. These tips also help if your child becomes myopic, but there will be additional steps we’ll need to take to reduce the deterioration in their vision (contact us ASAP at 02083431122 or [email protected] if this is the case)

Embrace the Outdoors

Imagine your child running freely under the open sky, the sun warming their skin and the world unfolding in front of their eager eyes. Outdoor time is more than just playtime; it's a vital component of eye health. Studies have shown that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia or the onset will be delayed. Encourage your child to engage in outdoor activities like playing sports, hiking, or simply exploring nature. The natural light and the ability to focus on distant objects help their eyes relax and develop properly. Children need at least TWO HOURS outdoors per day.

Actionable Tip: Set a daily goal for outdoor playtime. Even 60-90 minutes a day can make a significant difference. Plan family activities on weekends that involve being outside, like picnics, bike rides, or nature walks.

Take Breaks from Close Work

In our digital age, children are often glued to screens or buried in books. While education is crucial, so is the health of their eyes. Prolonged close work can strain the eyes and contribute to the development of myopia. Teach your child to take a break every 20 to 30 minutes. See our article about reading and myopia here>>

Actionable Tip: Use a timer to remind your child to take breaks. Encourage them to stand up, stretch, and refocus their eyes on something distant. This simple habit can alleviate eye strain and promote better vision health.

Hold books further away

When your child reads or does homework, ensure they maintain an adequate working distance. Holding books or screens too close to their eyes can exacerbate myopia. Aim for a distance of at least 30-40 centimetres (about 12-16 inches) for reading and screen time.

Actionable Tip: Set up a comfortable and ergonomic study area for your child. Adjust chairs and desks to ensure they can sit upright with their materials at an appropriate distance. Remind them to keep their devices at eye level rather than looking down for extended periods.

Ensure Good Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for reducing eye strain and protecting vision. Dim or harsh lighting can force your child's eyes to work harder, potentially worsening myopia. Natural light is best, but if that's not possible, use bright, indirect lighting that illuminates the workspace evenly.

Actionable Tip: Position your child's study area near a window to take advantage of natural light during the day. In the evening, use adjustable lamps that provide adequate illumination without causing glare on screens or books.

Prioritise Good Sleep

A well-rested child is a healthier child, and this includes their eyes. Sleep is crucial for overall growth and development, and it plays a significant role in eye health. Ensure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep for their age to support their vision and overall well-being.

Actionable Tip: Establish a consistent bedtime routine that promotes relaxation and prepares your child for a good night's sleep. Limit screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted by devices can interfere with sleep patterns.

Focus on Good Nutrition

What your child eats can impact their eye health. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients supports their vision and helps prevent myopia. Incorporate foods high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, into their diet.

Actionable Tip: Serve a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and berries. Include fish like salmon or supplements that provide omega-3 fatty acids. Make mealtimes a fun and educational experience by involving your child in choosing and preparing healthy foods.

As a parent, your proactive steps can make a world of difference in your child's vision health. By embracing outdoor activities, encouraging breaks, ensuring proper working distance and lighting, prioritizing sleep, and focusing on nutrition, you're not just protecting their eyes; you're nurturing their overall development. Remember, these habits are not just preventative measures but also opportunities to bond with your child and instil lifelong healthy practices.

Your dedication to their well-being today will pave the way for a brighter, clearer tomorrow. Let’s create a world where our children can see all the beauty and possibilities that lie ahead. Contact us for more information or to book one of award-winning assessments for your child.

About the Author Bhavin Shah

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