Vitamin D3 drops in kids, doctors advise few hours under Sun
Survey finds deficiency root cause of progressive myopia in children
BENGALURU: Limited outdoor activities and minimal exposure to sunlight due to the pandemic, which confined people to their homes in the past two-and-half years, has led to Vitamin D3 deficiency, which might have proven costly for some children. A pilot study conducted by a doctor at a city-based hospital, has indicated deficiency of Vitamin D3 to be the root cause of progressive myopia in children (short-sightedness) and also a slight spurt in cases.
During the study, conducted between January and July this year, among 51 children who suffered progressive myopia in the age group of 8 to 14 years, including 31 boys and 20 girls, it was found that serum Vitamin D3 levels were deficient (less than 20ng/ml - nanogram per millilitre) in 38 children, according to Dr Sowmya R, consultant, department of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, Sankara Eye Hospital.
Myopia, a common cause of visual impairment in children in the school going age group, is seen in 5.3 per cent children and 35.6 per cent in adults in India. It is one of the most common causes of decline in vision, which starts manifesting in childhood and can progress over the years, and lead to higher risks of pathological myopia (severe vision loss) and complications like retinal detachment, glaucoma and others.
She added, “We noted low Vitamin D levels in most new onset myopes (new patients of myopia) or fast progressing myopes (old patients of myopia) who came for follow-up. So we took up a detailed study. If Vitamin D3 deficiency is addressed, the progression of myopia can be minimised in childhood itself. Vitamin D levels should be monitored in children, and parents must ascertain that children get a minimum of 90 minutes’ exposure to sunlight every day, as deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to visual impairment and other health complications,” Dr Sowmya said.