Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is a growing problem among children. Myopia is when a person can see clearly up close, but distant objects appear blurry.
The rate of myopia in children has grown with the increased use of electronic devices such as handheld video games, laptop computers, electronic pads and tablets among other things. These types of items, while super popular and trendy, can cause eyestrain, and eyestrain is one of the causes of myopia.
Warning Signs of Myopia
There are some things you can watch for in your children to see if they may have a vision problem:
- Squinting at a distant object
- Using a finger to track across a line of text
- Rubbing their eyes often
- Suffering from headaches
- Complaining that their eyes are tired
- Complaining that their eyes ache
- Tilting their head to look at objects
- Complaining of a sensitivity to light
If you suspect your child has eye issues, you should take them in for an eye exam right away. Children should have eye exams at six months of age, three years of age and before they enter school.
Dealing with Myopia
If your child has myopia, there are some ways you can slow its progression. One of the causes of myopia is visual fatigue, and luckily it is one of the easiest causes to address.
There are several ways you can reduce your child’s visual fatigue. The first is to limit their use of electronic devices. Try setting a time limit for your children in advance, so they know exactly how long they can use the device. This helps eliminate temper tantrums or arguments when you tell them they must leave the object for another activity.
A second way to reduce visual fatigue is to encourage your children to take breaks from the screen. They should stop looking at the digital screen after 10 minutes of usage, and look at something 10 feet away for 10 seconds. This helps rest the eyes for a bit, then they can resume use. It gives the eyes a chance to change focus on something different at a distance and relieves some strain.
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Diet, Eye Exercises and Lifestyle Changes
Other ways you can address your child’s myopia are through diet, eye exercises, and entertainment choices. To have healthy eyes, you need to eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals. It is important that your child get enough of the amazing and necessary vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements in their diet to achieve healthy vision.
If you think that it may be difficult to get your child to eat enough of the proper foods, consider changing out some of the snack foods in your house. Add more fresh and dried fruits to their snack choices. Another good snack choice is raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli.
If you are still concerned that they are not consuming enough of the right foods, consider putting them on a multivitamin or vitamin supplement, like our Ocu-Plus Formula. But first, keep in mind you should always consult with your pediatrician before giving your child any vitamins or vitamin supplements.
The last way to address your child’s myopia progression is by helping them select better entertainment choices. Encourage your children to do more hands-on play or outdoor play. Physical activity is good for them, and it helps them unplug from their long list of electronic devices.
Instead of watching television as a family, play a board game or read a story. When you are driving, have your children watch the scenery passing by and converse with them instead of putting on the car’s video system. Not only will these entertainment choices help reduce your children’s eyestrain, the change will help build better family bonds and memories!