Stanley is 11 years old. Till recently, he loved to play football. However, in the past year or so, he is losing interest in the game.
Fatima has been an outstanding student in her class. However, her grades are falling.
Komala loves to paint. But lately, she seems distracted and is seen squinting and rubbing her eyes.
All three kids may have something in common – they may be suffering from myopia, a condition of the eye commonly known as nearsightedness.
What is Myopia?
Myopia is a refractive error that is seen commonly in children. It is caused because of an elongation of the eyeball so that the near objects focus well but the far objects appear blurry.
This condition may be caused by a lot of factors. If your kid stays indoors in a dimly lit room, the chances of him getting myopia are high. If you have the condition, chances are that your kids would have it as well.
Myopia is more common than we think. According to the Health Promotion Board, Singapore is #1 in the world for the prevalence of childhood myopia in seven to nine-year-olds.2 It may be because of the genetics, or many parents would say that it’s all the hard work the kids put into studies.
Whatever the reason, it is a cause for alarm, because if left untreated, your child’s eyesight will continue to worsen and complications could develop such as retinal detachment.
Retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss if treatment is not promptly given.
How to know if your child has myopia
Did you know that most of the cases of myopia are detected at school by teachers and not by parents?
As students have to read what is written on the blackboard from a considerable distance and often do not completely grasp that they are not seeing things properly, they are seen squinting and are more restless than usual in class.
Investigate once your school-aged child:
- is seen squinting or rubbing his eyes a lot
- starts sitting too close to the TV
- complains about headaches
Luckily, a simple eye examination can lead to a clear diagnosis and path to correction.
Mums, do talk to the teachers and see if they have observed any changes in your child’s behaviour lately. Falling grades and losing interest in activities might signal towards a lack of attention, often precipitated by myopia.
How to deal with it
Here is the good news. Most cases in children can be corrected when diagnosed in a timely fashion.
Use of corrective lenses is the most recommended form of treatment as it improves vision and delays the progression of myopia. However, using the right type of lenses is important.
Checklist for controlling myopia
- Get the condition diagnosed by an expert.
- Use lenses that correct the distant vision and reduce the strain for near vision.
- Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Use sunglasses or UV coated spectacles.
- Encourage your child to eat healthily.
- Reduce strain on the eyes by restricting the screen time.
- Encourage the kids to play outdoors in the evenings instead of playing indoors.
To know more about the ideal solution for this condition, read The right solution for your child’s myopia is both simple and revolutionary.
For further enquiries, schedule a visit with an Eye Care Professional via Essilor.
1: Lessening Your Child's Risk of Myopia
2: Myopia - a World #1 we don't want for our kids