Top 4 Warning Signs That Your Child May Develop Myopia
With the instance of myopia or near-sightedness in children on the rise since 1970, parents should be aware of what myopia is and how they can tell if their child has this eye condition. While it may take an eye doctor to fully diagnose their condition, these four warning signs that your child may develop myopia will provide a quick way to determine whether your child’s eyesight is in danger.
What myopia is
Myopia is characterized by the inability to see objects clearly at a distance. This occurs because the eye has become elongated, changing the way light enters the eye. When children develop myopia, it usually progresses, forcing them to wear increasingly thick eyeglasses in order to see. While mild forms of myopia may not have a negative impact on eye health, serious cases can lead to cataracts, glaucoma and retina detachment once the child becomes an older adult.
Unfortunately, there is a genetic component to this eye condition. If one or both parents suffer from near-sightedness, it’s more likely that their children will also develop myopia at some point. If your children have genetics working against them, it’s critical to maintain a schedule of regular eye exams so that myopia can be treated early if they develop it.
Limited outdoor play
Studies have shown that children who regularly play outside develop myopia less often than those children who rarely play outside. This is true even for children with near-sighted parents. Although it’s unclear whether it’s the sun exposure or the type of activities that require distance vision that improve a child’s eyesight, a child’s risk of myopia decreases by two percent for every hour of outdoor play they get in a week.
Excess screen time
If your children love to spend free time in front of the television, tablet, computer or smartphone, they could be at a higher risk of developing myopia in their lifetime. Not only do children normally focus their attention on screens for long periods without giving their eyes a break, but they also typically hold the screen much closer to their face than is necessary, training their eyes to focus most often on close objects.
Getting close to objects
While the other warning signs may contribute more to the detriment of your child’s eyesight, getting close to objects when looking at them is perhaps the most telling of the myopia warning signs. It doesn’t matter whether your child is sitting excessively close to the television, holding a book mere inches from their eyes or putting their face near their toys while playing. The result of all these is that your child is likely getting close to objects in order to see them clearly.
Remember, the progression of myopia can be slowed even if it can’t be cured, so it’s worth bringing your child to the eye doctor for diagnosis if your child has these warning signs.