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Your Child's Eyesight is Getting Worse and Here is Why

Child vision problems are increasing a rapid rate. This explains why and what to do about it.

People texting on their phone“The prevalence of myopia in the United States appears to be substantially higher in 1999-2004 than 30 years earlier.”  So says the report from the research from the Journal of Epidemiology.

 

In the 1970’s, around 25% of people age 12-54 were myopic or nearsighted in America. By 2004 that number had risen to 41%. One has to know that the number has probably increased since 2004.

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Almost half of the American population needs correction for nearsightedness.

 

 

What are some of the reasons? Why such an increase?

 

Another interesting study, on 19 year old South Koreans, shows a 96% rate of myopia. Here is a hint. South Koreans and Americans love their technology.

 

I am sure you are like me and see kids all the time holding a phone or a tablet and when they are not doing that they choose to play video games on their TV or watch a movie.

 

This constant visual convergence and lack of body movement contribute to the increase in nearsightedness and it is making our kids stupid. Yes, I said it…STUPID!

 

Just look at the declining SAT and ACT test scores. Colleges are having to ramp up their remedial classes and community college enrollments are increasing due to young people not having the scores to get into a 4 year institution.

 

So how do we address this problem. The cure is simple but it is not easy.

 

Parents need to lead the way. What are your own habits when it comes to technology?

 

  • As a parent do you display good behavior like putting down the “smart” phone or tablet and taking a walk instead?

 

  • Do you limit the amount of time you spend on your computer or watching TV?

 

  • Show and tell your kids that you can take breaks and participate in some movement activities.

As parents, we must show what good behavior looks like and explain to our children why we are doing what we are doing and why it is important.

 

Don’t expect the culture to teach your kids the right thing to do. It often teaches just the opposite.

 

 

 Check out our Vision Therapy Resources on the

Learning Resources Page

 

Here are a few tips and activities to counter this myopic situation:

 

  • Demonstrate good behavior when it comes to technology

 

  • Limit the amount of time you and your child spends using technology and gadgets

 

  • Schedule times to use the technology

 

  • Schedule times to go outside

 

  • Schedule times to play board games

 

  • The Wii and Kinect are not answers to this problem

 

  • Ping pong tables and trampolines are great toys

 

  • Buy an art or drawing kit and supply all the paper a kid can go through

 

  • Sign up for a gymnastics, martial arts class or a sporting activity

 

  • Limit technology birthday and Christmas gifts

 

  • Make frequent visits to the library and limit time to only looking at books

 

  • Read exciting and engaging books everyday to your child no matter how old they are

 

  • As a parent demonstrate reading books instead of spending time on your phone/tablet/computer/TV

 

  • Sign your child up for music lessons such as piano, guitar, banjo, violin…make them practice

 

  • Require your child to earn time on the technology by performing their daily duties and displaying good behavior

 

  • Visit playgrounds and parks weekly

 

If your child is having difficulty attending to their school work or you see them squinting or rubbing their eyes they may have a nearsightedness difficulty.

 

The diagnosis of ADD is sometimes given when the diagnosis should be a visual deficit.

 

A child may be suffering from Convergence Insufficiency which is the difficulty to use both eyes together in a binocular way. Often an Optometrist will not test for Convergence Insufficiency.

 

A trained Occupational Therapist can screen for this or a Developmental Visual Optometrist can formally test for Convergence Insufficiency and other visual difficulties.

 

If you would like to schedule an appointment to test your child’s abilities please give us a call at 501.514.3722 or click the button below to request an appointment.

 

 

 

Here is another good article on this subject at US News and World Report

 

Here is a list of Developmental Visual Optometrists in Arkansas that are COVD trained:

Arkansas Optometrists: Eye Care

 

Vision Therapy in Fort Smith, AR
Arkansas Vision Development Center

Dr. Wanda Vaughn, FCOVD

 

Arkansas Optometrists: Eye Care

 

Vision Therapy in Searcy, AR
Searcy Eye Care Center

Patricia Westfall, O.D., FCOVD

Patricia Bell, O.D., FCOVD

Dr. Ron Boyles, OD

North Little Rock

501.758.9500

Dr. Angela Finley Rose, OD

Hot Springs

501.525.4272