In our grandparents’ generation, people would say “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Now, in the digital age, “Too much screen time today, and your eyesight will pay” is the new medical catchphrase.
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, our Boynton Beach eye care team at Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches has seen a sharp increase in the number of cases of severe myopia (nearsightedness) in our pediatric patients.
Our optometrist, our optometric team, points out that the pandemic forced many children to transition to online learning, significantly increasing the amount of time each day they spend on digital screens. As a result, many children’s prescriptions have changed at 2-3 times the normal rate compared to similar periods in previous years.
That’s worrying, because having moderate to high myopia increases the risk that a child will develop sight-threatening eye diseases later in life.
How Can Parents Help Protect Their Child’s Eyes?
Eye care professionals around the world have seen similar increases among their pediatric patients, and studies have begun to confirm a definitive link between myopia and excessive screen time.
Parents can help preserve their child’s short- and long-term eye health and vision by minimizing screen time when screens aren’t necessary for school or other important activities.
Furthermore, studies have shown a strong connection between children spending time outdoors every day and a reduced risk of myopia. Parents and teachers should aim to give children at least 2 hours of outdoor playtime a day, away from screens completely.
Symptoms and Management of Myopia
Signs your child may have myopia include:
- Frequent headaches
- Excessive eye watering
- Rubbing of eyes
- Needing to be closer to certain objects to see them clearly
If your child consistently displays these or similar symptoms, consult your eye doctor immediately to learn about myopia management options.
Want to see what else you can do to help prevent your child’s myopia from getting worse? Speak to our Boynton Beach eye doctor today