BENGALURU: It is now a common sight to spot kids as young as a one-year-old staring at the glaring screens of smartphones.
Be it watching cartoon videos, educational poem songs, games or clicking a picture, an infant these days knows his/her way through these technologically advanced phones better than elders.
While this might be considered a thing of pride often among parents who see their little child working through the phone better than their own self, they hardly take note of the harmful effects they are exposing their child to.
More often than not, it is the parents who introduce the child to smartphones in order to let the child stay distracted or engaged in the phones while they can feed him/her or even do their own work.
Doctors have presently noticed a rising number of instances of myopia in children, that too in very younger ages.
Myopia, also known as near-sightedness, is a condition in which close objects appear clear but the far ones look blurry.
Myopia can develop rapidly or even eventually. People with myopia tend to experience a blurred or distorted vision, squinting or strained eyes.
It has been observed that parents with myopia are more likely to have children with myopia. There has not been any specific reason to understand why some children become near-sighted and others do not.
Factors that can cause myopia in children:
Heredity: Having one or both parents myopic
Spending more time near work
Higher school achievements – being more of a bookworm
Reduced time in sports activity
Doctors have observed that a major tendency for myopia to run in families is also because of a shared intense environment near work.
That is to say, myopia passes on to the younger generations not really due to shared genes but due to this inheritance near work practice.
Parents with myopia generally pass on their own academic standards or love of reading to their children instead of passing on a myopic refractive error itself.
While myopia’s cause might not be clear, it is preventable and even treatable.
Myopia can easily be treated using eyeglasses/spectacles or contact lenses but once it starts, it will keep increasing with the growth of the child.
Myopia might not appear as a dreadful disease but is a huge hindrance in everyday routine activities and more so, for children who get caught up with this problem in the early years of their life.
Doctors point out that the reason for increasing instances of myopia these days is the digital shift of an enhanced use of smartphones.
The screens have a significant impact on the tender eyes of children but parents these days don’t realise it.
Another issue of the increased problem is that it is not addressed timely. Experts highlight that one of the major ways to reduce the risk of myopia is to encourage the child to step out for some physical activity more frequently.
The author is a consultant, paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus dept, Sankara Eye Hospitals, Bangalore