Reducing the chance of developing myopia
Having family members who are short-sighted is a strong risk factor. While we can’t do anything about our genetics, there are simple steps you can take to reduce the chance of your child becoming short-sighted.
- Increase the amount of time spent outside each day. The brightness of natural light is thought to limit the rate of myopia progression. An average of 90 minutes a day is a good target. This can be spread through the week allowing you to “top up” at the weekend.
- Limit screen time, and other close work (over and above school work) to two hours per day. This includes computers, tablets, smart phones, hand-held computer games, as well as drawing and reading. Try and hold close tasks as far away as is comfortable, avoiding the temptation to hold things very close.
- Take vitamin D. There is some evidence that taking a vitamin D supplement can slow the establishment of myopia.While this evidence is limited as to the effects this will have on reducing myopia it is understood that everyone in Scotland is at risk of not getting enough vitamin D so this may be good advice anyway
- Regular eye examinations. All children should have their eyes examined every two years from pre-school, however if you notice any changes in your child’s vision, make an appointment as soon as possible. Signs that they need to see an optometrist include noticing them squinting at the TV, complaining of headaches, difficulty reading or problems with coordination or concentration. Myopic children can be unaware that they are not seeing as well as they could be presuming their vision is the same as everyone elses. Myopia generally starts after the age of pre-school vision screening so even if you have had this assessment you should consider bringing your child in for an eye examination before their fifth birthday.
- Start early. The earlier in life these steps are taken, the best chance they have of making a difference. Take these steps from the outset and you are reducing your child’s chance of becoming short-sighted.
- Myopia Management. If your child is short-sighted Myopia Management contact lenses would be worth considering. The lenses slow the progression of short-sightedness, meaning when they reach adulthood they will have a lower a prescription than without the lenses.