Can you prevent myopia in your child?

The dramatic rise in childhood myopia (blurry distance vision) in recent years has driven robust discussion over the cause.. This article in Economist about myopia in China shows just how mainstream this topic has become. Parents seeking myopia treatment for their child at Treehouse Eyes often ask what they can do for younger children . While there is no “silver bullet”, we do now have good data on ways to help delay or in some cases potentially prevent the onset of myopia in children.

The impact of outdoor time and screen time

There is now good evidence that more outdoor time for children can delay the onset of myopia. This research summary provides a good overview of the data and evidence. So step one is get kids outdoors more. There is also now more evidence that reducing near work (reading, screen time) can also help reduce myopic progression. This is a huge challenge for parents, as schools and society put more on our kids to be reading, on computers and smartphones than ever before. The emerging data, summarized nicely in this research summary, is clear–having kids spend less time on near work activities can help with myopia. So step two is reducing near work as much as possible. More research is being done specifically in areas like blue light (due to devices), the impact of various positions when reading, etc. We will continue to monitor these results and share the latest evidence-driven recommendations.

How to help your child today

Despite best efforts, many children will still become myopic due to genetics. That is why an annual comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor is critical, as new treatments are now available to slow or even stop the progression of myopia in children. Early intervention is key, as many of these treatments are most effective if treatment is started early. Our Myopia Resource Center keeps up with the latest information about myopia, and use our Make An Appointment feature to find a Treehouse Eyes provider in your area.