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Children’s myopia: it’s not about gadgets

Children's myopia: it's not about gadgets

First of all, it is useful for parents to know how a child’s eyesight should normally develop. This will help to notice deviations from the norm and in time to show the baby to the ophthalmologist.

So, from the first days of life, the child already sees the outlines of objects, and from 2-3 weeks he tries to fix his gaze on large objects that are at arm’s length. At this time, the newborn may have transient, or temporary myopia, which gradually passes away on its own. And at 1 month, the baby can already stably fix the gaze on the mother and, seeing her, show positive emotions.

Parents should understand that the baby is born with a hyperopia of +4 – + 3 diopters, which gradually decreases independently by 3 years as the eyeball grows. 100% vision, or as ophthalmologists say, the unit appears in front of the school – by 6-7 years.

The formation of binocular or volumetric vision ends even later – by the age of 15. At this age, the brain is already well combines and analyzes the images that they received from each eye, and turns them into a three-dimensional image.

Therefore, up to this age, the child may have difficulty determining the exact distance to the object.

Children's myopia: it's not about gadgets

At the same time, an increasing number of preschool children, instead of the presbyopia in the norm, shows myopia.

– What is the cause of this violation, and how to treat it?

– First of all, myopia is not a disease, but a feature of the structure of the eye, – says Viktor Makarov, an ophthalmologist at the Children’s Clinic of the European Medical Center, candidate of medical sciences. – This is a visual impairment in the distance, in which the child can not clearly distinguish the details of the object at a far distance. And most often the cause of myopia is an increase in the eyeball along the anterior-posterior axis, in other words, an enlarged eyeball.

For example, an increase in the size of the eye by 0.5 mm entails an increase in myopia by almost 1 diopter.

The basic theory of the development of myopia comes from the fact that its cause is the structural features of the connective tissue (sclera) of the eyeball. It can stretch a lot. A huge role is played here by genetics.

Predisposition to myopia is inherited, but the mechanism of its transmission to the end has not yet been studied. It is precisely proved: if the father is nearsighted, then with a probability of 15% myopia will also develop in children; if mom has myopia – the probability of myopia in children is 30%; if both parents have myopia, children will be nearsighted in 50% of cases. That is, initially at the genetic level, children are transferred to a larger size of the eyeball.

True, children of parents with 100% vision may also develop myopia. Here, in addition to the genetic mechanisms, a lack or excess of light, a large visual load, plays a role.

In these cases, the ligaments and the lens are overstrained, which is bad for the eyesight.

– And what is the role of other factors, such as early acquaintance with gadgets?

– Scientific and experimental evidence that they have a bad effect on vision, no. To be honest, the effect of gadgets on vision has not been studied. And from the point of view of ophthalmology, there are no serious reasons for recommending that it is not necessary to let the child too early on the television or tablet.

There is rather a purely psychological motivation. And in the first year of life, the TV is unlikely to interest the baby.

Nature itself protects against overstretching of the eye: the child does not yet have perseverance, he cannot concentrate for long on one thing. Because of the strength he will watch TV for 2-3 minutes. So there are no contraindications to watching TV.

So, in the first year of life, a baby can watch TV for a total of 15-30 minutes a day, after 2 years – up to 1.5 hours a day and then every year the duration of viewing can increase by half an hour. The “timekeeping” includes the time spent on the computer, tablet, other gadgets, as well as the time spent on drawing, modeling and other similar activities at close range.

Problems arise because the eye works at a strictly fixed distance. The eye is forced to work at a strictly fixed distance, the lens is in constant tension, as it does not relax, the eye gets tired. Therefore, every minimum of half an hour it is necessary to take breaks of at least 10-15 minutes.

Otherwise, you can stimulate the development of myopia. The same goes for reading a book.

Advice: in order to relax the eye, during rest the child must actively move, look away, sideways, look at his feet. No wonder because doctors advise children to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air.

During the walk, the child constantly looks from one object that interests him to another, then to the right, then to the left, then to the distance, thanks to this, the eye either relaxes, then strains, that is, trains.

Children's myopia: it's not about gadgets

In Soviet times, it was believed that while myopia is not 3 diopters, it is not necessary to correct it. In addition, it was recommended to prescribe children with weaker glasses so that the eye would not be completely trapped.

This approach is already outdated. The global trend is an individual approach to each child and the desire for a 100% vision correction.

– It is a question of knowing this world. We must strive to ensure that the child sees the world around him in all its details and colors, – says Viktor Makarov. – On this basis, it is desirable to correct even weak myopia up to 3 diopters.

We must understand that neither glasses nor ordinary lenses do not stop the progression of myopia, since they do not affect the size of the eye. The size of the eyes, as well as the size of the legs, laid down genetically.

According to our expert, the development of myopia and ordinary gymnastics for the eyes will not stop.

– Better that half an hour to walk with the baby. The effect will be the same, if not more.

Indeed, during an active walk to the tissues of the body and the brain, the influx of oxygen increases and their work improves. Gymnastics by the method of Norbekov also works effectively.

But this is 3 hours of daily exercise. And do it for life. As soon as a person is bored with such gymnastics, myopia returns.

Few of the children can handle it.

To get rid of myopia, laser vision correction is needed. But there is an important nuance here.

The laser should change the curvature of the cornea, to make it flatter. If myopia progresses, then the eyeball continues to grow, and with its growth, the curvature of the cornea changes.

The laser in this case will fix the situation for a while. Myopia will definitely return, you will need to re-intervention.

Therefore, with progressive myopia, laser vision correction is contraindicated.

– Laser correction can be done if the vision is stable for at least 5 years, says our expert. – And it is recommended to do the operation after 18 years. For example, if at 11 years of age myopia ceased to grow, then at 16 years it is still impossible to do laser correction, you have to wait for 18 years.

If myopia stopped, say, at the age of 14, then laser correction can be done at 19 years old, just after the “stop” 5 years will pass.

It makes no sense for very young children to correct weak myopia.

– Up to 3 years old, the baby does not feel the need to perceive images that are far away, ”says Viktor Makarov. – It is more important to him that is close. And in 3 years you already need to wear glasses, because the child needs to know the world in all its diversity. Contact lenses are worn on children with very severe myopia at 9-10 diopters and more.

In this case, the glasses will be thick and heavy, the child will be uncomfortable, he will throw them off. Lenses should be selected by a specialist.

One-day ones are recommended, as they are hygienic. In other cases, glasses are preferable for children, because another kid doesn’t even let his nose or ears be cleaned, let’s put something in his eyes.

But if mom finds a common language with a crumb, then she will succeed.

Children's myopia: it's not about gadgets

Today, one of the methods by which you can stop progressive myopia is night lenses. Eye growth can be stopped only by mechanical action. Hard lenses affect the cornea, thereby changing its curvature.

In the morning, the lenses are removed, and the child’s entire day’s vision will be 100%.

– Children night lenses are shown from any age, – says Viktor Makarov. “The sooner you put them on, the sooner myopia stops.” If after 18 years of myopia does not progress, you can do a laser vision correction. True, again it is necessary to take into account several important circumstances.

Night lenses are only effective with myopia up to -6 diopters. Also, these lenses often give inflammatory complications due to the fact that they squeeze the cornea, and during sleep a person does not feel whether a speck of dust has fallen under the lens.

Therefore, it is necessary to strictly follow the rules of hygiene, every time you wash your hands thoroughly before touching the lenses, with the slightest feeling of discomfort the lenses should be immediately removed and thoroughly rinsed. It is better not to wear them with mild ailment, for example, with a cold.

As it is clear from the words of the expert, not a drop or a pill can always influence the progression of myopia.

– I always say: “Read the annotation carefully.” It says that these drugs improve the work of the retina.

With progressive myopia, the doctor may prescribe them if there is a change in the retina.

The first time to bring the child for examination to an ophthalmologist should be in 1 month. This will help to identify serious congenital disorders.

Then the ophthalmologist should examine the baby at 3 and 6 months. It is necessary to evaluate how the vessels in the fundus have matured and how the eye develops.

During these periods determine the limits of farsightedness, which allows to understand whether the child has a tendency to myopia. In 1 year, the ophthalmologist should look at how the eye develops in dynamics and compare these data with those that were before. Then the ophthalmologist should appear as a baby at 2 years old, when the eyes develop intensively.

At the age of 3, children can already speak, and you can check the visual acuity using tables with pictures. After 3 years, the child should be shown to the ophthalmologist once a year.

Parents should be alerted if:

  • At 1 month, the baby doesn’t fix the look well
  • The child is not interested in toys and pays attention only to those that are put into the pen;
  • It is difficult to recognize their relatives;
  • Brings objects close to the face to look at them;
  • The baby has a squint.

Having noticed these symptoms, the baby must be shown to the ophthalmologist.

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