Myopia in children. More open air, fewer smartphones and tablets

Not to put the eyeglasses, you have to be outdoors. Running in the meadows, playing in the garden, jumping, practicing sports outside the walls of the house are the best antidote against the development and aggravation of myopia. A defect, the latter, more and more widespread.

THE children in fact, they find it increasingly difficult to look clearly from a distance, so much so that they are talked about epidemic. The numbers speak for themselves. In Asian populations, the difficulty in viewing an object from a distance concerns 60-70% of children, with peaks of 90% in Singapore. In the United States in the last thirty years the increase in cases of myopia has been 50%, rising from 26 to 42% in terms of incidence. By 2050, it is estimated that half of the world’s population will not be able to do without lenses to see from afar.

The causes of myopia: not only familiarity, but also bad habits

But what is the fault of the very high number of cases of myopia among the smallest? A cause must be sought in the predispositionin the first place in familiarity: the children of myopic parents are more likely, in turn, to have to wear glasses.

Not only. The increase in the “close-up” activity in the last 30 years has had a decisive influence. The increase in the use of mobile phonestablets and computers and the decrease in hours spent outdoors in childhood have led to the current situation.

Research published on The Lancet digital Health in 2021 it proved precisely the correlation between myopia and excessive use of electronic devices.

Many studies also show that educated populations have higher rates of myopia than those of rural populations.

And the pandemicforcing children to stay indoors and use computers more has aggravated the situation. In China, for example, it has been documented that myopia among the very young, particularly in children between 6 and 8 years of age, has grown due to reduced socialization and the many hours spent in front of the screens.

The open air is a real medicine against myopia

The watchwords are therefore to prevent and decrease the risk of progression. The first antidote is precisely the open air. A study conducted in China and published before the outbreak of the pandemic on Journal of the American Medical Association shows how the addition of 40 minutes of outdoor activity at school to the usual activity for 6-year-olds in Guangzhou resulted in a reduction in the incidence rate of myopia over the next three years.

The implementation of activities outside the home is therefore a method effective and almost free to prevent and counteract the visual defect. With the great advantage of being a method as well fun.

Recommendations for parents

Sometimes it is easier for a parent to leave their child at home in front of a screen. On the other hand, outdoor play is unmatched in terms of benefits for children. If the latter should remain within the home, if they really have to use a screen, it is better to prefer large screens, to always keep due. distance.

From an early age it is also advisable to carry out checks periodicals of sight. Finally, pay attention to the “alarm bells“, behaviors that children engage in and that can make them think of visual problems, such as squinting while watching television. Headaches can also be a symptom of myopia.

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