National Myopia Week is just around the corner, and it's time to continue our efforts to rally together and address a growing concern – myopia. This annual event, organised by the MATANAND Foundation in collaboration with the Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmological Society of India (SPOSI), is set to take place from November 20 to 26, 2023.
Myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness, is a visual condition that hampers distant vision, making objects appear blurry without the aid of glasses. In this blog post, we'll shed light on the significance of National Myopia Week and discuss the importance of encouraging our children to spend less time on screens. We'll also try to get children to embrace more outdoor activities, a key message of this year's National Myopia Week. It's time to champion: #MoreGreenTimeLessScreenTime!
Myopia on the Rise:
In recent years, myopia has been on the rise, and it's not just a matter of blurry vision; it's a matter of our children's long-term eye health and the increased risk of serious sight-threatening conditions from high myopia. With the advent of technology, children are spending more time indoors and glued to screens – a trend that, according to some studies, is linked to higher myopia levels.
According to a study published in the Journal of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians, excessive screen time has been associated with an increase in myopia cases .
So, what can we do to protect our children's eyes?
While there are several myopia control therapies that can be explored with the guidance of eye care professionals, it's fascinating to discover that even simple, cost-free lifestyle adjustments can play a vital role in slowing down the progression of myopia in children.
The solution is simple yet incredibly effective – we need to encourage our children to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of screens. Here are some engaging and fun ways to make this transition:
Explore Nature Together:
Plan family outings to parks, nature reserves, or even your backyard. Explore the wonders of the natural world with your children. Whether it's hiking, picnicking, or simply stargazing, these activities can instil a love for the outdoors. There are also incredible physical and mental health benefits for everyone involved.
Create Screen-Free Zones:
Designate certain areas in your home where screens are not allowed, such as the dining table or the bedroom. This will promote more meaningful social interactions and deter excessive screen time.
Join a Sports Team:
Participating in sports not only keeps children active but also promotes good eye health. Encourage them to join a sports team, play a round of catch, or try out different physical activities they enjoy. One myopia therapy, called Ortho-K (also known as night lenses), can even allow many children to be free from glasses and contact lenses during the day.
Help your children discover hobbies that don't involve screens, like painting, gardening, or playing a musical instrument. These activities not only enrich their lives but also provide a healthy alternative to screen time.
Set a Good Example:
As parents, it's crucial to lead by example. In today's digital age, it's not just our reflections that we see in the mirror but the mirror of our own behaviour that our children observe. Children are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and experience, especially from their parents or guardians. If we're constantly glued to our phones, scrolling through social media or answering emails, it's only natural that our little ones will follow suit. They learn by example, and our screen time habits become their blueprint. So, if we want our children to develop a healthy relationship with technology, it's essential that we set the right example and strike a balance between our online and offline worlds. After all, the most valuable lessons are often learned by simply watching the people they look up to the most – us!
Sign our Change.org petition
Myopia Focus is passionately committed to revolutionising eye care for children in the UK. The primary objective of our change.org petition is to have myopia recognised as an ocular disease by the NHS, underscoring the necessity for substantial changes in government and healthcare policies. Central to our mission is to also implement regular myopia screening for all children and equal, cost-free access to effective myopia management methods. To learn more and sign the petition follow this link.
National Myopia Week 2023 serves as a reminder of the urgent need to address myopia, a growing concern affecting our children's vision. By promoting #MoreGreenTimeLessScreenTime, we can safeguard their eyesight and overall well-being.