Nearsightedness Developing in 6-Year-Olds
Eye problems; notably, nearsightedness, are becoming more much more prevalent in today’s children, compared to previous generations.
A recent study out of the University of Waterloo and CNIB observed the trend of rising eye problems. In about a third of all cases, young children are both undiagnosed and not receiving treatment to correct the problem(s).
What is nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a condition in which the individual is able to see up close; however, their vision gets blurrier as they look further away. Nearsightedness often begins to affect the individual around ages 12 or 13.
Nearsightedness developing as young as 6-years-old
Contrary to what scientists once understood, they have now been discovering that nearsightedness is developing as young as age 6. “Our eyesight as a population is deteriorating, and at a much younger age,” notes Dr Mike Yang, clinical scientist and lead investigator behind the study.
Dr. Mike Yang continues, “These kids are just starting school, and the worry here is that if they start with myopia earlier, they have a longer period of time to develop higher amounts of myopia. This increases risk of glaucoma, macular, and retinal problems.”
Dr. Mike Yang observed that between grades 1/2 and 6, the prevalence of nearsightedness rose from 6% to 28%.
What causes nearsightedness and how can you be proactive?
Nearsightedness is genetic, but other factors can hold an influence, such as too much screen time. A way to go about lessening the likelihood of developing nearsightedness is to spend an extra hour outside each week – this decreases the risk by 15%. It is important to take your child to see an optometrist before they begin kindergarten and once per year after that.