Did you know that myopia is one of the leading causes of avoidable vision loss in the world? And by the year 2050, it’s estimated that nearly half of the world’s population will be myopic.
This means that nearly 5 billion people are suffering from potentially preventable vision loss and increased risk of blindness.
Myopia, or short-sightedness as it is commonly known, is an eye condition where distant objects appear blurry. It usually begins in school-aged children and can continue to progress until the eye stops growing.
Myopia Awareness Week (23-28 May 2022) is an initiative of the Brien Vision Holden Institute (BHVI) that aims to increase awareness of myopia.
This year, they are encouraging parents and practitioners to make “Eye Moves” to reduce the:
- Risk of onset of myopia;
- Progression of myopia in eyes that are already myopic; and
- Overall burden of myopia with improved myopia management techniques.
Young people’s eye health at risk
The BHVI states that, in many East Asian countries, 50 per cent of children aged 10 years and above is myopic.
What’s more, COVID-19 has significantly raised the stakes and increased the burden of myopia. Evidence from across the globe found that the COVID lockdowns caused a surge in near-based activities and less time outdoors, resulting in a spike in prevalence, incidence (new cases of myopia) and progression of myopia.
Parents and caregivers – what can you do?
According to the BHVI, there are six “Eye Moves” parents and caregivers should remember:
- Eye health is as important as physical health. Make your child’s eye health a priority.
- Support and work together with your child in adopting positive eye health habits.
- Stay informed. Book an eye examination for your child with an eye care professional before they commence schooling and at regular intervals thereafter.
- Activate outdoor time – encourage skipping, hopping, and moving outdoors as a daily routine. Be a role model for your child.
- Encourage taking a break from near tasks/digital media – moving eyes to look at distant objects, outside the window, a little walk outside is important to reduce risk. Praise, encourage and support your child.
- If your child is already myopic, there are ways to slow the progression and reduce the burden. Keep in touch with your eye care professional.
For parents and caregivers, the Myopia Awareness website has resources to help support children’s eye health – you can find them here.
To find out more about myopia and myopia management, we encourage you to book an appointment with your local optometrist today.