Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 11:02 am
Parents — especially those who are nearsighted and had to wear glasses throughout childhood — are frequently worried about the causes of myopia and whether their children are doomed to being nearsighted, too. If this sounds like you, attempt not to worry excessive.
Myopia is a common refractive error, it’s easily treatable with contact lenses as well as eyeglasses, and it’s not strictly genetic. Likewise, nearsightedness normally does not impact a child’s academic efficiency or hold them back in any way. In fact, there’s proof that nearsighted children tend to perform much better in school than their equivalents with normal vision, farsightedness or astigmatism.
What Causes Myopia In Children?
Although the exact reason why some children end up being nearsighted and others do not is not fully understood, it appears genetics is an aspect, however not the only one.
In other words, if both parents are nearsighted, there is a higher risk their children will be nearsighted, too. However you can’t anticipate who will become nearsighted by just taking a look at their family tree.
In my case, my parents and both my older brothers had perfect vision. I’m the only one in the family who is nearsighted.
I liked to check out when I was a kid (still do); my brothers, not a lot. Some scientists think focusing fatigue from excessive reading or holding a book too near your eyes for extended periods can increase the risk for myopia in children. However no one understands for sure.
The cause (or causes) of myopia may stay a mystery, but scientists recently have actually discovered something about the development of nearsightedness that is very intriguing: conventional glasses and contact lenses that have been prescribed for several years to fix myopia may really increase the risk of myopia intensifying throughout childhood!
A lot of these same researchers are examining new lens designs to see if they can establish contact lenses or spectacles that can control myopia and stop or slow the development of nearsightedness in children.
How To Reduce Your Child’s Risk Of Myopia
This may sound glib, however maybe among the best things to inform your child to reduce his/her risk of myopia is, “Go outside and play!”
A variety of current studies have found that spending more time outdoors may assist prevent or decrease the progression of nearsightedness in children. Among them:
- In the Sydney Myopia Study, scientists in Australia evaluated the impact of time spent outdoors on the advancement and development of myopia among 6-year-olds and 12-year-olds randomly picked from 51 Sydney schools.
The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the research study — after adjusting for the quantity of reading carried out, adult myopia and ethnicity.
Children who carried out one of the most amount of near work and invested the least quantity of time outdoors had the greatest mean amount of nearsightedness.
- In Taiwan, researchers evaluated the impact of outdoor activity during class recess on myopia risk and development amongst grade school students.
Children participating in the one-year study varied from 7 to 11 years of age and were recruited from two close-by schools found in a suburb of southern Taiwan.
A total of 333 children from one school were motivated to go outside for outdoor activities during recess, whereas 238 children from the other school did not take part in an unique “recess outside the classroom” (ROC) program.
At the beginning of the research study, there were no substantial differences between the two groups of children with regard to age, gender, and myopia occurrence (48 percent vs. 49 percent). But after one year, the children from the school that hung around outside during recess had a substantially lower onset of brand-new myopia than the children from the school that did not encourage outside activity during recess (8.4 percent vs. 17.6 percent).
There likewise was significantly lower average development of myopia among already nearsighted children in the ROC group compared with the group that spent more recess time inside (-0.25 diopter [D] each year vs. -0.38 D each year).
The research study authors concluded that outside activities during recess in primary school have a substantial protective result on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and minimize the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.
- Researchers in Denmark published a study of the seasonal result of offered daylight on myopia advancement amongst Danish schoolchildren.
Myopia risk was determined by measurement of the axial (front-to-back) elongation of the children’s eyes in different seasons. Increasing axial length of the eye is related to increasing nearsightedness.
The quantity of daylight changes considerably with the seasons in Denmark, varying from almost 18 hours daily in summer to only seven hours per day in winter months.
In winter (when the children had access to the least hours of daytime), average development in the axial length of their eyes was considerably greater than it was in summer season, when their outside sunlight direct exposure was greatest (0.19 mm vs. 0.12 mm).
- Scientists in the UK examined the results from 8 well-designed research studies of the impact of time spent outdoors on the development and development of myopia amongst 10,400 children and teenagers.
The scientists determined a 2 percent drop in the risk of establishing myopia for each additional hour children invest outdoors weekly. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for each extra hour of exposure per day,” they stated.
Compared to children with normal vision or farsightedness, children with myopia invested an average of 3.7 less hours per week outside, they included.
No specific outdoor activity was connected to the minimized chance of myopia — it was just the state of being outdoors instead of indoors. Also no connection was discovered in between myopia occurrence and a propensity to do more near work such as studying.
The scientists stated more study is needed to identify which outdoor-related factors are crucial, such as more range vision use, less near vision use, physical activity and direct exposure to natural ultraviolet light.
Also read: Contacts for Children
Provided the research above, it’s a great concept to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors (and leave the cellular phone and other electronic devices at home or in their pockets!).
Doing so just may reduce their risk of ending up being nearsighted — or slow the progression of their current level of myopia.
Even better, join them for some quality time outdoors together!