With children hardly getting time to engage in outdoor play while juggling school assignments and tuitions, mobile phones, television or video games have become their main source of recreation.
The new digital inventions and online activities are great but that also means children are being exposed to more screen time, which can impact their well-being.
Among other impacts of increasing screen time, doctors are also noticing a rising number of cases of myopia or near-sightedness in children at a young age. People with myopia tend to experience a blurred or distorted vision, squinting or strained eyes. It has been observed that parents with myopia are more likely to have children with the same condition. While children with myopia tend to have parents with myopia, it is not strictly a genetic condition.
Doctors point out that the reason for increasing instances of myopia in early childhood years these days is the enhanced usage of smartphones. The screens have a significant impact on the tender eyes of children.
Here are some other factors that can cause myopia in children:
1. Heredity: Having one or both parents myopic
2. Spending more time near work
3. Being more of a bookworm
4. Reduced time in sports activity
Parents with myopia generally pass on their own academic standards or love of reading to their children instead of passing on a myopic refractive error itself. While myopia’s cause might not be clear but it is preventable and even treatable by wearing spectacles or contact lenses. But the problem has to be addressed timely. Experts have also suggested that spending more time outdoors and doing physical activities frequently can help prevent or reduce progression of myopia in children.
(With inputs from Dr Vidhya C, Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Dept, Sankara Eye Hospitals, Bangalore)