A few excerpts from Installment #11 of the Child Myopia Program:
There are two main components to close-up: Distance and time.
If we observe neither, we may have a child that spends three hours at 20cm from a screen – which almost certainly guarantees significant myopia in the child’s future.
Our goal is to affect both time and distance, without creating a major desire for the child to cheat. This requires slow and modest changes, to give the child’s mind time to adapt. This is quite important!
Think of diets – if you have any experience with them, you probably know the feeling of wanting to gorge yourself, the longer the food restriction continues.
The same psychological trigger happens, if we suddenly or excessively change the child’s habits. Let’s avoid this.
Let’s start by looking at distance, for the child’s most common close-up activity. Most common being defined by frequency of the activity. It could be TV, playing computer, games, or reading. Any static close-up activity (playing with toys doesn’t count here).
A simple thing, really. Everything does seem simple, in hindsight, once you have proper perspective. And if you follow this blog, you already know quite a bit about myopia causes. In this case, we adjust to account for the psychological requirements specific to a child.
Computer games, or books, we need to address first. Ergonomics here, are important. Laying on the living room floor, with the iPad 10cm from the child’s face, definitely needs to be stopped immediately. Likewise, smartphones are a bad idea altogether. In case of tablets, we need to establish use that creates a fixed distance. This could be putting the device on a stand, on a table, at a fixed position from a chair. I have seen parents get creative, with permanently mounting stands, and disallowing use of the device outside of the stand (as example).
Remember, it is the habit, we need to build. We have to keep the child at a good 50cm or so from that device, at all times, at minimum.
Of course, we never, ever, ever want to have the child use a regular minus prescription for any close-up work. That, of all things, is the biggest no-no of all. Treat it like sticking fingers into an electrical outlet, or drinking drain cleaner. It is the single biggest trigger to rapidly increase myopia, and can’t be allowed – at all.
Key pieces of advice here, for children – applicable for adults as well, of course. For additional insights and a host of tips on how to implement these concepts, sign-up for a month or two of the Child Vision Improvement Courses.