Shortsightedness or myopia is an unpleasant disease. It compromises vision and inconveniences the child by requiring her/him to wear glasses or lenses. Also –when myopia is severe – it can cause various serious complications like retinal detachment.
For all these reasons parents want to prevent myopia or shortsightedness in their children and often ask this question.
“Can I prevent myopia in my child?”
Myopia or short sightedness is a problem that is commonly seen in children. It used to be restricted to a few children in a classroom. But over the past few years the number of children suffering from myopia has been steadily increasing so that now a large number of children in every classroom wear spectacles because they suffer from myopia.
Can myopia or shortsightedness be prevented?
Pediatric ophthalmologist Dr Anirudh Singh says “Yes it is possible to prevent myopia to some extent”
It is impossible to prevent hereditary myopia – but mild myopia which is caused by poor lifestyle can definitely be prevented by living a healthier more conscious life.
When can myopia be prevented?
Myopia that is caused by excess of use of near devices like mobile phones and tablets or iPads can be prevented. Even after myopia has set in – if it is mild and if the cause for myopia is the use of near devices – it can be reversed to some extent.
What can you do if you want to treat myopia or short sightedness in your child?
- Eat a balanced diet
It is important to eat a diet rich in vitamin A and Vitamin C . All the green leafy vegetables all the yellows and the oranges definitely help. However it helps only to certain extent. There are parents who come to us and they say “If I give my child carrot juice everyday will it cure him completely?” The answer is “No.” Carrot juice is not going to remove the power all together. But it will help to a certain extent – so definitely give your child a balanced diet to the kid.
Also read Indian Meal Plan Tips For Busy Moms For Balanced Healthy Meals and Pumpkin Soup; Guaranteed to be your Kid’s Favourite
- Limit the use of near devices
If your child loves playing on the Mobile or iPad or computers – limit the usage. Reducing the time the child spends doing near activities does help to a certain extent.
Also read Do Eyes Get Spoiled By Using Mobiles And Watching TV? and How to reduce screen time for toddlers
- Let the child go out and play
Research has shown that children who play outside in the sun at least for half an hour a day have less chances of developing short sightedness. Children who are just confined indoors watching television working on computers or working on iPads have greater chances of developing short sightedness
- Do not make your child study for long hours
With the loads of homework that children get nowadays they have to spend a lot of time reading books or using the computer. There is no way out where homework and studies are concerned, so – let him take breaks Every 30 or 45 minutes let him take around 5-10 minutes of break.
- Eat a balanced diet
Can eye exercises reduce or cure myopia?
Dr Anirudh says “Eye exercises do not help much. But in very mild cases were the power has actually occurred because of eye strain due to reading for a long time or using near devices – exercise will definitely help.”
What are the exercises to improve myopia or shortsightedness?
- Ask the child to take a break in case he is doing a some near work like reading or working on a device for a long time.
- Every 25-35 minutes – tell him to look at an image kept far away. He/she can read a chart hanging on a distant wall.
- Ask her/him to get up from the table walk around for 5-10 minutes and then get back to doing his near work. That works as exercise for the eyes too.
- Do pencil exercises. This helps children with convergence problems or those who have weak eye muscles. The exercise is called pencil push up. Give the child a pencil. Let him look at the tip of the pencil – bring it closer till the time he focuses at the single point. Then take it away again. You can do it for 5-10 minutes.
These exercises and other measures enumerated above help in reducing the eye strain to a certain extent. These are simple things that you can do to improve myopia or shortsightedness in a child
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