Children, who spend lots of time indoors and on computers and other electronic devices may be raising their risk for nearsightedness, suggest a panel of ophthalmology experts.
Ophthalmologist suspect Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, which has dramatically increased among children during the last 50 years, is due to an increase in ‘near work’ — focusing on something close to the eyes — and decreased amount of time spent outdoors in natural light.
Kids are spending much more time doing indoor activities with their cellphones, tablets, computers, and other digital screens, often seeing things very close to them and doing it in low-light level that could be making them become nearsighted, say ophthalmologists.
Anyone can be nearsighted, but it is more common in people whose parents are nearsighted and is also much more prevalent in industrialized and urban areas than in rural areas. Children of East Asian descent are genetically predisposed to nearsightedness, but children's habits in those regions may be increasing the rates of myopia even more.
While myopia is not reversible, or even stoppable, its progression can be slowed. "Parents and teachers should encourage kids to take breaks while reading. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break. Get eyes off the page and look at something that is farther away," suggest the experts. They add, “Although there are no conclusive studies that say dim light is harmful, it does require more accommodation and focus, which can lead to a strain on the eyes. So always make sure your kids are reading in bright light. Also get them to spend time outside.”
One benefit to kids spending time outdoors is the exposure to natural light. If kids do need to stay indoors, having large, glass windows in the home is helpful so kids can still get the benefit of seeing objects at a distance, and get exposure to bright light.