Kids and myopia: a condition on the rise in 2023
Screens are a part of our modern world, and at times we're all a little guilty of using them a bit too much. Too much screen time is just one of the lifestyle factors leading to a rise in myopia cases worldwide, as our head office team explains in this post.
“In 1983, the typical onset of myopia was at around 11 years of age. However, in 2000, the average onset of myopia was just 8 years of age.”
While there are familial factors at play, lifestyle factors such as less time outdoors and more time on screens also may lead to the onset of myopia. Children in our modern world are spending more time looking at screens for prolonged periods, and less time outside where there vision is constantly changing focus, looking at objects both near and far.
With all this extra screen time, how might your child’s vision be affected?
About 40% of the world’s population has myopia and that figure is expected to rise to 50% by 2050.
Myopia causes objects further away to become more difficult to see. People who develop high myopia are at a much greater risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts much earlier in life. Myopia is progressive, developing over time, and for children, this progression is occurring at a time when they and their eyes are growing too.
So, what can you do to help your kids eye health in terms of myopia, and their health in general?
Spend time outside
Take your kids outside to play or exercise for at least one hour (preferably two hours) a day to help prevent myopia from developing and progressing.
Plan fun activities
There are hundreds of things you can do with your kids; from board games and puzzles to reading a paperback book, having an indoor camp out to creating an obstacle course in your backyard.
Be a healthy screen role model
Kids watch what their parents do and reflect their behaviour. Be a role model of healthy screen use to your kids. Reduce the time you spend scrolling through your phone, reduce binge watching TV series and turn off the TV as background noise.
Take phone breaks
Make sure that, for every half hour of screen time, your kids take a 10 minute break to walk around and stretch their legs.
Reduce digital eye strain
To help reduce the impact of digital eye strain it is important that the screen is no closer than 40cm from your child’s face.
Unplug from devices
Allocate times in the day to unplug from devices. At dinner time place all the phones on a table away from where you are all eating. Before preparing for bed, place all your phones on charge in another room and spend some time just hanging out as a family.
Note the different types of screen time
Be mindful of both the type of screen time and the people your kids are sharing their screen time with, as well as the duration of time they spend looking at a screen. Excessive amounts of time spent looking at a screen can be harmful to your child’s health.
Natural light is best
Encourage your kids to sit near a natural light source when they are on their device. Bright, natural light is better for their eyes. If they can’t sit close to a natural light source, ask them to sit near a window angled perpendicular to their computer screen. At night, have their screen placed to the side of a light source, not directly underneath.
If you have concerns about your child’s eye health or you want to know more about the early impact of myopia, contact us for an appointment.
CooperVision Australia and New Zealand, The Australia and New Zealand Child Myopia Report – A Focus on Future Management. Accessed February 2023.
Ready to book an appointment?
Online bookings available or call us on (07) 3463 0349.
This website does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately dial Triple 0 (000).