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Dear Parents,

"You need to get outdoors to be healthy."

"Don't read too much; it will weaken your eyes."

" Don't wear glasses too young; it will weaken your eyes".

Are old wive's tales regarding myopia true?

Research  shows that the prevalence of near-sightedness among Americans aged 12-54 years has increased from 25% in 1971-1972 to 42% in 1999-2004.

Dr Kanwal Nischal MD FAAP, a board certified pediatric ophthalmologist, suggests that we should perhaps start listening to our grandparents when they tell us what we believe are OLD WIVE'S TALES.

A combination of both genetic and environmental factors seems to be responsible for myopia. Risk factors for this problem are doing work that focuses on close objects, spending a lot of time indoors and a family history for this condition. Although for many years genetic factors were considered responsible for this condition, it was proven that other environmental factors were also important.

1. The Role of Sunlight:
Recent studies in China and  Great Britain comparing children who spent  additional amount of times outdoors as opposed to children who did not, demonstrated that time spent outdoors  were associated with a decrease in the progression of myopia ( near-sightedness).

2.  The Role of Near-Work
A systematic review of  literature  ( years 2009-2014)  by Huang, Chang, and Wu  showed that near work activities were associated with myopia and that increased diopter-hrs of near work might increase myopia prevalence.
Near work was defined as the sum of activities with short working distance such as reading, studying, writing, doing homework, watching TV, or playing video games, etc.

3. The role of glasses.
Vision screening at regular pediatric office visits are of utmost importance to continue to screen for correctable vision problems including myopia and amblyopia as early as possible.
Correction for these problems may include prescription of corrective lenses. Obviously the use of glasses continues to be important in our children's growth.      
Of note is that recently it has been shown that eyeglasses may in fact focus vision onto a certain part of our eyes causing axial prolongation and in fact increasing our predisposition to myopia.

New Strategies:
What is the answer:
It is well understood that children are spending too much time inside and there are multiple reasons to have are children play outside in a safe environment , with a safe increased amount of exposure to UV light.
Simple measures of not reading in dim light, and getting at least 2 hours of sunlight ( even by sitting near a window)  appear to have a protective effect on myopic progression.

Decreasing  near-work may be more challenging. One approach would be to reduce the intensity of near-work. For example reading for shorter periods of time and taking more breaks.

Newer eyeglass lenses are being experimented with which are concave centrally and convex peripherally. Some studies have shown reduction in the progression of myopia in 6-12 year olds using these new  lenses.

Other measures being studied include usage of certain contact lenses overnight as well as certain eye drops.

The use of breast milk as well as newer infant formulas containing DHA and arachidonic acid has been shown to be associated with enhanced vision and intelligence.

New answers are continually been worked on and developed, and yes, we should always listen and heed advice from Grandma and Grandpa.

[๐Ÿ˜Š]        Sunlight, reading, and myopia   [๐Ÿ˜Š]

โ€‹  ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿž๐Ÿผ I don't want my child to wear eyeglasses๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ’.

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