Children Need Fresh Air

Modern technology has transformed life in the 21st Century, but scientists have identified one big drawback – Myopia (short-sightedness) in children.  In the 1960s only 7% of UK under-16s were short-sighted, but now the figure is 20%.  Such a huge change cannot be caused solely by genetics.  Scientists largely attribute this tripling of the condition to increased use of computers and mobile phones, and the exponential growth of computer games which are usually played indoors.

People who develop myopia early in life are far more likely to develop serious eye problems in later life.  Limiting the time spent on close-up work, easiest done by spending more time playing outdoors (at least 2 hours a day), seems to be the solution.  In any case, the very many benefits of fresh air and social interaction with other children are already well-established.

It is very important for parents to be aware if their children are developing myopia, firstly to try and limit its progress but, secondly, to take corrective action to prevent them falling behind in class because they don't have optimal vision.  Contact lenses are widely and safely prescribed to children and are often seen as ‘cool’ compared with glasses.  New technologies are constantly being incorporated into contact lenses and there are daily disposable lenses which are specifically designed to limit the progress of myopia.  Alternatively, special contact lenses can be worn during sleep to help correct the shape of the eyeball and so inhibit the progress of myopia.  The science behind this is called orthokeratology or ortho-K.

Parents should get their children’s eyes tested pre-school so they can take the necessary corrective action early.  While there, ask the optician about both daily disposable lenses to slow the onset of myopia and ortho-K contact lenses which are worn during overnight sleep.