As a young mum, a business owner/entrepreneur and as Vision Direct’s resident optometrist, Jessica Chester knows all too well how smartphones, ipads and tablets alike are lifesavers when it comes to keeping a child preoccupied for hours and calming them in seconds – perfect for those long car trips and dining out. However Jessica has also seen first hand the long-term impacts these devices can have such as early stages of myopia (short- or near-sightedness), which is becoming a major Australian public health crisis.
Rising at an alarming rate, new studies have revealed myopia now affects 19 per cent of 12-year-olds, which is almost double the amount in 2005, 31 per cent of 17-year-olds also suffer from the condition and more than half of myopia cases are diagnosed between the ages of six and 15, with the second wave between 18 and 22.
So with this in mind, we ask Jessica to share three signs your child may have early stages of near-sightedness
Near-sightedness may develop gradually or rapidly, often worsening during childhood and adolescence, here is what to look out for when it comes to your children’s eye health:
- Children with myopia have difficulty seeing things at a distance, which may be demonstrated by sitting too close to the television, squinting, or difficulty in school because they can’t see the board.
- If your child complains about headaches when they have been concentrating or focusing their eyes on something (TV, school blackboard, street signs, etc.), this may be linked to early stages of myopia.
- If you notice your child blinking or rubbing their eyes excessively it could be due to eye fatigue which is linked to myopia.
Schedule an appointment with one an optometrists if your child exhibits any of these signs. A visit with the doctor may reveal that your child has myopia. These common refractive errors are easily corrected with eyeglasses or contacts.