Are you doing enough to protect your little one’s eyesight? Get expert advice from Clarity Eye Centres on preventing myopia and what to do if your child has it.
Did you know there’s been a whopping 2.5-fold increase in myopia cases amongst children during the COVID-19 pandemic? Hong Kong is among the cities with the highest prevalence of myopia worldwide – on average, children spent 7 hours in front of screens and just 24 minutes outdoors per day during the pandemic.
But what exactly is myopia, and what measures can parents take to prevent it? And if your child has been diagnosed, is it possible to limit the condition from worsening? We get these pressing questions answered by the team of experts at Clarity Eye Centres.
Your Myopia Questions Answered By Optometrists At Clarity Eye Centres
What causes myopia?
Myopia (also called near-sightedness) is the elongation of the eyeball, making light rays fall in front of the retina and causing blurry vision for distant objects. This can be caused by genetics, poor visual habits, use of digital devices, limited daytime outdoor activities and wearing single-vision glasses.
Who gets myopia, and how do you recognise myopia in children? Is it possible for babies and toddlers to develop it?
Anyone and everyone can get myopia, including toddlers though the chances are slim. In most cases, myopia develops fastest between ages 6 and 14, when children grow the fastest too, and stabilises when puberty ends.
Squinting eyes, seeing things at a closer distance, frequent blinking and eye rubbing, and difficulty in reading the board in the classroom are early signs of myopia.
What steps should parents take if they suspect their child is myopic?
We strongly recommend parents look for vision centers or ophthalmology centers which provide myopia control services and bring their children there for a comprehensive check-up before taking any further action.
Can myopia be reversed?
As myopia is an elongation of the eyeball, it cannot be reversed.
Are there any preventative steps parents can take to reduce the risk of myopia in children?
To reduce the risk of developing myopia, parents should encourage children to maintain good visual habits with the three NOTs rule:
- NOT too long: For every 20 minutes of near-work activity, look at a distant object 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- NOT too close: Maintain a good reading distance of around 30-50cm
- NOT too dark: Avoid reading in dark or dim areas
- It is suggested to limit children’s digital device use too. Age 1 or below: Avoid any usage
- Ages 2 to 5: Less than 1 hour (the lesser, the better!)
- Primary school: Less than 2 hours of leisure use
- Middle school: Avoid prolonged use
Research has found that outdoor light exposure can slow down myopic progression – children should be encouraged to have outdoor activities for at least 2 hours a day, 14 hours per week.
Why is myopia control important? What happens if it is left untreated?
If left untreated, moderate myopia is one of the leading causes of visual impairment worldwide. The greater the degree of myopia, the greater the risk of complications such as macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma. Hence, it is important to control myopia before it’s too late.
Professional Childcare For Myopia At Clarity Myopia Control Flagship Centre’s New Location
A Child-Friendly Environment To Relax Those Nerves
A visit to the eye doctor can feel nerve-wracking, to say the least, but the Clarity Myopia Control Centre ensures a child-friendly environment. It has claw machines, a gaming booklet for children to learn about eye health, treasure hunts and other quizzes (plus freebie gifts for those who complete all challenges). Special performances from clowns and face art sessions are held occasionally too.
Thorough Check-Ups With The Latest Technology And Experienced Doctors
Equipped with advanced instruments and VISUFIT 1000 Platform from ZEISS Vision, the world’s leading manufacturer of precision optics, ZEISS Myopia Management Workplace recently launched at Clarity Myopia Control Centre at The ONE to provide deeper myopia management analysis. What’s more, Clarity’s MRT (Multispectral Refraction Topography) machine can check more than 1 million points on the eye to create a peripheral defocus profile for children.
Clarity’s practice combines optometrist and ophthalmologist services that provide a personalised myopia control solution for children and a more seamless experience for parents to better understand their child’s eye care.
If you suspect your child has myopia, book your appointment with Clarity Myopia Control Flagship Centre now.