Did you know that myopia, also known as nearsightedness, usually begins between ages 6 and 14? Rates of myopia have been on the rise for decades, and while there’s no definitive answer as to why, there is strong evidence that points toward the increase in screen time among children during these crucial developmental years. At this rate, it’s expected that nearly half of the population will be nearsighted by 2050.
What is Myopia?
Myopia affects the focus of the eye, which makes distant objects look blurry (it’s known as “nearsightedness” because close objects appear in normal focus). Although myopia can be treated with LASIK eye surgery, most nearsighted Americans wear glasses or contacts to correct their vision. In more extreme cases, however, myopia can lead to conditions like retinal detachment, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, all of which can cause further vision loss or even blindness.
How Can I Help My Child?
In addition to nearsightedness, excessive screen time can also lead to obesity and delay a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. So if you have a child, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations on screen time:
- For children 18 – 24 months old, avoid all digital media except video chatting
- For children 2 – 5 years old, limit digital media to one hour of high-quality programming per day (e.g. Sesame Street, PBS children’s shows)
- Turn digital devices off during meals and within one hour of bedtime
To keep an even closer watch on your child’s development and eyesight, we recommend scheduling annual check-ups with their pediatrician. At AdvantageCare Physicians, our pediatricians take a “whole you” approach to childcare, which looks to all of the physical, mental, and lifestyle factors that make up your child’s entire health picture. Schedule your child’s next pediatric visit today.