There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to preventing myopia from progressing.
Zooming into the issue.
Myopia, also known as near-sightedness, is one of the most prevalent vision conditions plaguing the world today. It is caused by the elongation of the eyeball which prevents light from focusing properly on the retina. As a result, distant objects will appear blurry.
Alarmingly, half the world is estimated to contract the visual disease by 2050. One of the biggest risk factors associated to myopia progression is prolonged near work activity, especially on screens.
Living in the digital age necessitates the use of screens and our children are being introduced to them earlier and earlier. As their vision is still developing, it’s no surprise that our young ones are the most vulnerable to myopia. Being parents of these digital natives, it’s important to help them manage their screen time and prevent myopia from progressing. But before we do that, it’s necessary to debunk some myths you may have heard about preventing myopia from progressing:
1. Myopia is curable, so there’s no need to worry about my child even if he/she gets myopia. He/She can just go for LASIK surgery when he/she is older.
You’ve probably heard of LASIK surgery as a means to attain clear vision. Now, while it is true that LASIK can help you enjoy clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, the surgery itself does not change the structure of your eye.
As mentioned earlier, myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. LASIK does not change this. What happens instead is that during the surgery, a laser will be used to only on the front part (the cornea) of the eye to help you obtain that clear vision. If your child has myopia and decides to undergo LASIK surgery, the shape of the internal structure of his/her eyeball will still remain the same. This means that your child’s eyes will still be susceptible to myopia even after LASIK surgery if he/she doesn’t take care of them.
2. I should delay my child from wearing glasses in order to improve his/her vision.
This is completely false. If your child requires prescriptive spectacles or corrective lenses to help them see clearly, they should wear them as soon as they can. This is to ensure that your child will be able to go about his/her daily activities with the clearest vision possible. Delaying spectacles or corrective lenses can put your child at a greater risk – it could lead to an incomplete development of your child’s eyes and even worsen your child’s existing myopia condition.
3. There’s no point in going for an eye exam if my child’s eyesight is perfect. He/she definitely isn’t at risk of myopia.
Even if your child has perfect eyesight, you should still bring him/her for an annual comprehensive eye exam. As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Just like how you would regularly bring your child to the dentist to check for cavities, make it a point to bring your child for an annual eye check as well. While your child’s eyes may not be at risk of myopia now. that doesn’t mean they never will be.
Getting your child’s eyes checked regularly at an optometrist can help to identify any vision problems that your child may be experiencing early. If found, your optometrist can help administer treatment in order to prevent vision conditions like myopia from developing further.
What else can we do to prevent myopia from progressing?
Now that you know more about the steps you can take to help prevent myopia from progressing in your child, how do you deal with pesky screen time? We can’t completely deny them of it (especially with schools pivoting towards digital learning in this age), but we can help them manage it.
Consider downloading parental control apps like plano into your child’s devices. The plano app reminds your child to take regular eye breaks every 30 minutes and to place their phone at a safe distance from their eyes. Additionally, it reminds your child to use their phone in the correct lighting conditions. If your child follows all the prompts in the app, he/she will earn points which they can use to request for outdoor activities from the plano Shop*.
With the help of plano, you don’t have to worry about constantly looking over your child’s shoulder to check on his/her device use. In fact, you can just sit back and relax while plano helps you monitor your child’s screen time and prevent myopia from progressing.
Armed and ready? Fight myopia today!
Our little ones are growing up with screens and it’s more critical than ever that we help them establish a healthy relationship with their devices. With screen time on the rise, so is myopia. Now that you know a little bit more about myopia prevention, you can start protecting your child’s eyes starting today!
*Only available to Singapore plano users.