Parents, Are You Aware About Myopia or Near-Sightedness? Learn now

Studies show, there is an increase in the prevalence of myopia in school-going children of India. Myopia or near-sightedness occurs when the eyes are longer than normal in axial length that is from front to back. It also develops when the cornea is more steeply curved than normal. In simple words, children with myopia cannot see distant objects clearly but near vision is well-developed.

Signs and Symptoms of myopia in a child:

  • Blurry vision
  • Persistent eye rubbing
  • Difficulty reading from Blackboard in the classroom
  • Holding books close to the face while reading
  • Holding toys and objects near while playing
  • Squinting of eyes to focus
  • Frequent blinking
  • Disinterested in the classroom due to a lack of understanding
  • Inability to see TV screen or wall clock

Causes of myopia in a child:

Near-sightedness runs in families. According to research, myopia is common in children who do not perform more outdoor activities. The more the children indulge in near-focused activities such as screen-related work, and reading etc, the higher the incidence of myopia.

Myopia most commonly occurs from 6 to 14 years of age, but it is also seen in toddlers. During eye development, the clear window in front of the eyes, also called the cornea is curved too steeply or the eyeball is too long. In normal vision, on exposure to light, light rays directly focus on the retina. However, in myopic children, light rays fall short of the retina. Therefore, it creates blurry vision.

Once the child is myopic, he /she has to live with it for the rest of her life. Thus, the progression of myopia needs to be controlled. Myopia grows as the eye develops; it worsens during adolescence. If not treated, it may give rise to severe eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic macular degeneration.

How to prevent myopia from worsening?

Young-onset myopia is faster growing, as it advances with eye development. Near-sightedness affect the quality of life in children. Parents can take precautionary measures to control the progression of the condition.

  • Allow children to perform more activities outdoors.
  • Limit screen time on digital devices.
  • Periodic eye check-up is mandatory.
  • Take small breaks from close work every 30 minutes, while reading, writing, using the screen, drawing etc
  • Teach children to maintain good working distance, to decrease strain on eyes. As a thumb rule, the distance should be equal to the child’s forearm.
  • Ensure good lighting, where the child studies.
  • If myopia in toddlers is noticed, parents must visit a paediatric ophthalmologist for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
  • Schools should promote awareness about myopia in parents and conduct periodic advanced eye screening check-ups.

Conclusion: As the prevalence of myopia is increasing, there might arise epidemics of myopia within the upcoming decades in India. Lifestyle changes as well as active intervention are necessary to combat this situation. Parents should follow eye check-up schedules for children, promote kids to spend time outdoors, and most importantly use corrective eyeglasses for a child with vision problems.

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