There has been quite a lot of discussion in the Facebook group lately, about child myopia. Likewise, endmyopia e-mails have a lot of child questions.
So let’s talk about child myopia, and child cooperation today.
Important Note: Before you start playing around with endmyopia concepts, it’s really important to realize that children’s eyes are still developing. You can play around quite a bit with focal planes as an adult, and not go too far wrong – at least compared to children. The younger the child, the more actively the eye is responding to environmental stimulus. So you want to be extra careful (and well educated), before even thinking about messing with focal plane changes for child eyes.
This is one of the reasons I recommend having an adult myope in the family work on their myopia first, get meaningful first hand experience, before getting into child myopia control. Also of course, consult with doctor, especially for conditions besides myopia.
On to today’s e-mail:
Very common scenario.
Of course you hopefully already read enough of the blog to where you’re nodding here, knowing the score.
Six years old.
That’s prime time for avoiding myopia once and for all, by starting off with the right habits. This is no different from brushing teeth, from not eating a bunch of candy, from not watching TV at one in the morning. All the things the little one has to learn to grow up healthy.
Healthy Eye Habits Start Young
You want to read a book, wee one?
Great. It needs to be 60 cm away from your face. We’ll buy you a book stand. Also, reading time only when there’s good natural daylight in the room. We set a timer for two hours, then it’s time to play outside for an hour.
You have to understand how myopia happens.
Don’t blindly follow half baked online advice, like getting plus lenses or weird eye exercises. Know how the problem happens, then understand how to address it.
1. Reading distance. The closer the distance, the higher the focusing muscle strain.
2. Lighting. The darker the room, the higher the eye strain.
3. Close-up time. The longer the close-up, the higher the risk for focusing muscle spasm.
Did you know these?
Oh look, myopia development.
Observe your child’s current close-up practices, and look at how many of these basic rules are being broken. Is the child becoming myopic? I’m willing to bet that all of the above is part of the problem.
So, sure, Harry Potter. Distance, lighting, outdoor breaks. Healthy habits, starting young.
But then what if you came here just a bit too late, and the little one already has myopia?
Attitude Is Key
How does the saying go?
What happens to you is 20%, you can’t control that. But how you feel about it, that’s the other 80%. You can control most of your emotional connection to your life’s experiences.
Or something like that.
With kids, it’s not them controlling their emotions. It’s up to you to set the example.
How does this relate to myopia?
How do we prevent this, in a positive way?
You’re setting up the eyesight story here. Is it a fun, positive story? Are you going to play active focus games, are you going to reward the child being able to read the license plate? Or are you going to be a despotic, scary, annoying grown up, forcing horrible exercises and rules?
One of these will be easily and positively internalized by the child, the other is just setting you up for total rebellion.
You don’t want your child to turn into a teenager who loves glasses. Just to rub it in, knowing that you hate it, wearing the biggest, most colorful frames all the time. You’re setting up the template when the little one is your little one. Prevent the rebellion early, by making it fun and games, and giving rewards (reading if outdoor time is done, reading points for making out that license plate, etc etc).
And playful eye charts.
Realize that myopia is preventable and reversible. There’s no need to freak out right now and impose a ban on all books and screens (though, you know … maybe I’m a hypocrite because I probably would do just that). You can slowly change course from where things are today, and prevent that teenage glasses rebellion.
Here’s the video edit of this child, glasses, myopia topic:
Sunburned and all.
As always, the key here is knowing everything about myopia, before you start plotting a course out of it.