Summer is here: how to take care of your child’s eyes during the pandemic
With kids finally out of school, now is the time for parents to think about their child’s eyes and vision. Most children massively increased screen use during COVID-19, increasing their risk of myopia (blurry distance vision). Myopia traditionally has been thought of as a nuisance, easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses. However, as this recent Wall Street Journal article highlights, myopia in children significantly increases a child’s risk of serious eye diseases. Poor vision resulting from myopia can also impact a child’s performance in school and activities. Fortunately for parents, new treatments can now slow or even stop the progression of myopia in children.
Below are some research driven actions parents can take this summer.
Increase Outdoor Time
There are numerous studies showing outdoor time can delay or even prevent the development of myopia in kids. We recommend 2-3 hours a day of outdoor time. This was difficult with kids doing online school, but now is the time to take advantage of summer to schedule time and activities for your child outside.
Reduce Screen Time
Parents struggle with screen time and their children for a number of reasons. More studies shows that increased near work (screens, reading, etc.) may be a factor in the progression of myopia in children. While eliminating screens isn’t practical, try to put limits on screen time and encourage frequent breaks.
Proper Reading Tips
When kids need to do a lot of reading, new research suggests that it may be beneficial to do it at night vs. in
the morning. Some early studies also suggests adjusting digital devices to have black backgrounds with white text.
If your child reads in bed, laying on their back might be the best position to help minimize increasing myopia.
Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam
School and pediatrician vision screenings can miss up to 75% of vision issues in children. Taking your child to the eye doctor for a comprehensive exam annually is the best way to ensure your child’s vision is optimal. At this exam the doctor can discuss which treatment will work best if your child has myopia.
Early intervention for myopia is key, as these treatments are most effective when 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.
Dr. Gary Gerber, O.D.
Chief Myopia Eradication Officer