Do you know that Singapore has one of the highest prevalence rates of childhood myopia in the world?
Well, we live in small spaces coupled with digital entertainment such as the television and iPads and the academic focused culture, it is definitely not surprising.
Surveys have showed that 25% of Singaporean children are myopic, or more commonly known as short-sighted, before they enter primary school and this number grows to about 50% by the time the children completes primary school education. Being short-sighted impedes your child’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities, not to mention the expenses you accumulate over the years on eyewear for them!
Though genetics play a part in determining this, your child’s lifestyle and habits play a bigger part. Start cultivating good eye care habits in your children. Even if your child is already myopic, good habits can help to slow down the myopia progression. We are sure they will thank you for it when they grow up!
Here are some tips:
1. More outdoor activities – A one-year study conducted in Taiwan on effects of outdoor activities on children’s eyes suggested that children who spend more time outdoor has lower risk of becoming short-sighted. Try replacing the time on the television and gadgets with activities such as cycling in the park or swimming. These activities also bring about other benefits such as family bonding time, aids your child to relax, improve their motor-skills and a healthier body!
2. Good reading/studying habits – Ensure your child is sitting upright on a comfortable chair. Books should be at least 30cm away from the eyes. There should be ample light. At the same time, make sure there is no glaring light shining directly on the books. Give them a short stretch break of 5 minutes every 30 to 40 minutes to rest their eyes. Encourage them to take a walk around to stretch their body and look at distant objects.
3. Mind the television and gadgets – When watching the television, the television should be at the eye level or lower and at least 2 metres away. Remember, the bigger the television, the further away they should sit. For computers and tablets, adjust the brightness of the screen to avoid glare. Proper light settings should also be observed.
4. Ample sleeping hours – We cannot stress this any further. Doctors recommend growing children to have at least 8 hours of sleep every day. This is to ensure their eyes have adequate rest. At the same time, it improves concentration span and builds immune system.
There is no cure for myopia. Let’s not take our children’s perfect eyesight for granted. Instead, let them continue to enjoy their growing up years without the inconveniences that myopia brings.
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