Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is one of the most prevalent conditions among school children across the globe. It is an eye-related medical condition in which you can clearly see the objects near to you, but find it difficult to see the distant objects. The blurred vision can be compensated with wearing spectacles, contact lenses or undergoing refractive surgery.
According to The North India Myopia Study (NIM Study), nearly 13.1% of children suffer from myopia and have a problem in seeing objects that are placed at a certain distance. Although children can have this ocular disorder due to various reasons, excessive use of gadgets from an early age is arguably one of the primary causes. Other reasons can include genetics (the risk is higher if your parents are myopic) and environmental conditions (limited time spent outdoors).
Several studies show that children below the age of 10 years who are dependent on gadgets prefer to stay at home and use mobile or watch television, for their leisure or as a break from studies. Instead of indulging in physical activities, the school children are constantly dependent on different types of gadgets. In addition, the screen time of children between the age bracket of 10 to 15 years is constantly increasing due to new mobile games, academic conceptual videos, and the fear of social acceptance.
As a result, their eyes are under constant strain due to the high screen time, which further leads to excessive blue light exposure emitted from gadgets. Furthermore, the use of gadgets is not just addictive, but it forms a lifestyle which is heavily dependent on the use of technology and gadgets, thereby making the child prone to eye diseases such as myopia, computer vision syndrome, dry eyes, etc.
While the world of school children continues to shrink to the size of a digital screen, it is recommended that parents should try and implement the following preventive measures so as to protect their children from myopia:
- Ensure Regular Breaks: It is nearly impossible to stop the use of gadgets. Instead, parents can ensure that regular breaks of 10-15 minutes are taken every hour
- Blink: Constantly staring at the screen without blinking makes the eyes dry, which can cause serious problems. Children must blink their eyes regularly while using mobiles or other devices
- Dimmer: Turn on the screen dimmer while reading a book, article, or scrolling through social media to protect yourself from the harmful blue light
- Ensure Regular Checkup: Due to the frequent use of gadgets, it is imperative that children are taken for regular eye tests. If spectacles are needed, parents must do the needful
- 20-20-20: School children must remember this rule that after every 20 minutes, they should focus on something located at a distance of 20 feet for at least 20 seconds
Myopia, at an early age, can lead to weak eyes and eyesight issues in the long run. Thus, it is strongly recommended that school children must realize the negative impact of long screen time and balance the quotient of gadget use and outdoor activities.