A global health crisis predicted to affect 50% of the population by 2050. Swap screen-time to outdoor time today, to prevent a future of myopia in children!
Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is an eye condition that results in blurred distance vision. It is caused by a complex interaction between many common genetic and environmental factors. he prevalence of myopia is also dependent on geographic locations and ethnicities; being more common in Asian ethnicities and least common in the Caucasian population. However, myopia is on the rise globally, with 36% of Australians estimated to have the condition by 2020, which is further predicted to increase to 50% by 2050.
Many studies have shown an environmental contribution to the onset and progression of myopia. Spending time outdoors (2 hours each day) has proven to be a protective factor against the onset of myopia. Children who spend more time outdoors and less time on near work are less likely to be myopic. Near work in particular, without regular breaks, places an individual at greater risk.
Earlier this year, The World Health Organisation (WHO) published guidelines for the amount of screen-time children should be exposed to. Screen based activities include watching television, using an ipad or tablet, spending time on a computer or laptop, playing screen-based games and using a mobile phone.
The screen-time guidelines recommend:
- Children younger than the age of 1 should not be exposed to any electronic screens
- Children aged 2 – 4 years old should only participate in a maximum of one hour per day
A maximum of 2 hours per day of screen-based activities, whilst taking regular breaks every 15 minutes, is recommended for children aged 5 and above.
Myopia is a great health concern, as the condition increases the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy. Recent clinical trials have shown that certain treatments can reduce the progression, in order to prevent high levels of myopia. Such treatments include low dose Atropine eye drops, orthokeratology contact lenses, multifocal and bifocal spectacles or contact lenses.
If you or your family member is at risk, or have already developed myopia, book your comprehensive consultation today to discuss the options available to reduce your risk of sight threatening eye disease!