Children playing with electronic devices are not only being harmful to their waistline, but also to their eyesight.
Although, this subject has not seen many researches done on it, there are concerns of the experts that this can lead to growing levels of short-sightedness in children. The solution to this problem is the encouragement of the parents towards their children to spend more time outdoors in the sunlight.
Rise of shortsightedness
The myopia or the shortsightedness is massively on rise across the world in the recent decades.
The consultant ophthalmic surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital, UK and ophthalmology at King’s College London, Chris Hammond said, “We know that myopia or short-sightedness is becoming more common.”
“It has reached epidemic levels in East Asia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, where approaching 90% of 18-year-olds are now short-sighted.
“In Europe, it’s potentially getting up to 40% to 50% of young adults in their mid-20s who are short-sighted now in Western Europe. It’s been gradually rising over the decades of the 20th Century from around 20-30%.”
Reason for its increased frequency
The ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Annegret Dahlmann-Noor is of the opinion that the key issue is the lacking of natural light.
“The main factor seems to be a lack of exposure to direct sunlight, because children who study a lot and who use computers or smartphones or tablet computers a lot have less opportunity to run around outside and are less exposed to sunshine and because of that seem to be at more risk of developing short-sightedness.”
Prof Hammond says: “It may be that there’s no coincidence that in East Asian countries, the most myopic ones all correlate with the maths league tables.
“These kids are being pushed with very intensive education from a very young age and spend a lot of time indoors studying everything close up and very little time outdoors.
“Therefore the concern is that all close work – like playing with the iPad and iPhone – carries the potential that it could make them more short-sighted.”
Time outdoors being the critical factor
The experts say the best way to check shortsightedness is to get children playing outside as much as possible.
Prof Hammond says, “Protective of myopia development is time outdoors – sport and leisure outdoors are protective of eyesight.”
“In a perfect world, probably on average across the week and the weekend, two hours a day outdoors is protective of becoming short-sighted in children.”
- Game usable in testing the eyesight of the children
- The food should be considered that improves eyesight
- Researches carried out in Australia and Singapore reveals that children spending more time of the day in outdoors have fewer cases of myopia