What your child needs to prevent myopia
Good eye care habits can be cultivated and can help in preventing the development or worsening of myopia in your child.
Encourage outdoor play
It is now known that spending time daily on outdoor activities may help to protect your child's eyes against the development and progression of myopia. Outdoor activity also helps to improve the overall health of your child.
Here are some suggestions for outdoor activities:
- Bring your child to the playground. A regular trip to the playground does not just ensure that your child do some physical activity, but also helps promote social skills as he learns to play with other children.
- Take a walk in the park or to the shops. You can also walk your pet or go on a nature trail.
- Take a trip to the beach and have fun as a family, building sand castles.
- Encourage your child to take up active hobbies like cycling or swimming to spend more time outdoors.
- Play outdoor games like football or Frisbee and involve the whole family.
While outdoors, do remember these safety tips:
- Avoid the hottest periods of the day (11am to 4pm).
- Ensure your child drinks plenty of water.
- Apply sunblock lotion and wear a cap and sunglasses to protect against the sunlight.
- Use appropriate safety gear where necessary e.g. when rollerblading.
Reduce time spent on near work
When indoors, advise your child to cut down the time spent on continuous reading, writing and other near work. Ask him to take a break after about 30 to 40 minutes by looking at something far, or by going for an outdoor activity such as a stroll in the park.
Discourage him from unnecessary near work too, such as playing on hand-held devices, handphone or computer games. Provide ample opportunities for outdoor play instead.
Some other good eye care habits to take note of are:
- The distance between the eyes and the book should be approximately 30 cm.
- The reading environment should be well-lit.
- Your child should sit upright in a comfortable chair.
- Choose books with large print.
- Discourage reading in bed and in moving vehicles.
When using a computer:
- The computer screen should be placed at a distance of about 50 cm from the eyes.
- Adjust the screen of the computer to reduce glare from the reflection of other light sources.
- Ensure adequate lighting.
- Adopt a balanced diet and other healthy lifestyle habits and ensure that your child is actively engaged in physical activity.
When watching TV or playing video games:
- The larger the TV screen, the further away one should sit when watching TV.
- The height of the TV should be at or below the eye level.
- The room should be well-lit.
- Limit the total amount of time spent watching TV or playing video games.
Go for regular eye-checks
- Visit an optometrist or optician for an eye check at least once a year if your child is myopic or have been advised to do so by the School Health Service.