Myopia, or nearsightedness, is on the rise among children. There are a few different factors that have led to the affliction’s meteoric rise over the past decade but the truth has become crystal clear: myopia is more common in children than ever. While myopia can be treated with bifocals, it has the potential to create serious issues later in life. Fortunately, there may be ways in which parents can stave off its development. Family eye doctors can only do so much once it has appeared, meaning parents will need to be active partners in finding solutions. Here we will discuss the factors that have led to such widespread instances of myopia and what can be done to prevent it.
Genetics vs. Environment
It has long been understood that myopia can be passed on genetically but this alone does not account for the massive wave that has emerged. In the 1970’s, roughly 25% of the population was nearsighted in the United States. This has jumped to 43% today. Such a massive increase stretched over a generation and a half does not point towards genetics as the culprit. That leaves us with the environment around children as being the potential cause for such a drastic uptick in cases.
One thing that has clearly changed over the last 50 years has been our reliance on technology, specifically the use of screens. While television has been a source of entertainment for quite some time, children are more immersed in technology today than ever before. Not only is television still ever present, video content is much more accessible. Gaming is wildly popular among children along with YouTube and other sources of video content. Additionally, schoolwork is increasingly completed through the use of laptops and tablets. All of this means that our children are in front of screens now more than ever. Researchers have found that all of this time spent inside, in front of screens has contributed mightily to the rise of myopia in children.
What Parents Can Do About Myopia
With screen times being at an all time high, our children are spending less time outside than ever before. As you might imagine, sunlight is incredibly important to a child’s development and their vision is not unique in that case. Sunlight helps eyesight develop as children grow and currently they are just not getting enough of it. Myopia can lead to cataracts, glaucoma and many other serious eyesight problems later in life that can potentially lead to a loss of vision. Family eye doctors are unable to offer any immediate treatments beyond bifocals, so parents must do what they can to prevent it from developing.
Finding opportunities to have your children play outside may be the best way to prevent myopia from developing. Not only does the sunlight help their eyesight develop, but they will be more active and reap many other benefits from the time spent being active outdoors.
When Myopia Develops, Reach Out To Complete Eye Care
When myopia develops, we are here to help your child excel. As your family eye doctor, we will set your child up with a pair of bifocals to help them continue to succeed in school and their activities. If you are concerned about your child being nearsighted, schedule an appointment today.