ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Nearsightedness, also called myopia, is on the rise in kids. Many experts say more time in front of screens and less time outdoors is to blame for this trend. As Ivanhoe explains, the COVID pandemic may have added to the already growing problem.
The COVID quarantine has meant isolation and boredom for kids. And this is a familiar scene for many families.
But all that screen time may be leading to more cases of nearsightedness. That’s when you can see things up close but not far away. In the U.S., only 25 percent of the population suffered from nearsightedness in the 70’s. Today, it’s 42 percent! Experts say one big reason is kids are getting less natural sunlight. Focusing your eyes in the daylight can delay the onset of nearsightedness. And, the blue light from screens can cause another problem that doctors call “digital eye strain.”
“So, what’s that? Vision becomes blurry, eyes become fatigued, sometimes red. It’s very frequent to start getting headaches,” explained Alan Mendelsohn, MD, an ophthalmologist.
A Canadian study revealed that during the COVID lockdown, eight-year-olds spent an average of more than five hours a day in front of screens for fun with more screen time needed for school. Experts say try the 20-20-20 practice with your kids. That means you take regular breaks every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also encourage kids to play outside as much as possible.
The World Health Organization estimates that half the world’s population may be myopic by 2050.