Two recent studies carried out in the UK and US have highlighted a boom in the number of children becoming short-sighted (myopic) and have strengthened recommendations for parents and teachers to limit the time that children spend looking at screens, encourage outdoor play and to have regular eye exams.

The studies came up with similar findings in that that there are more than twice as many myopic children (16.4%) as in the 1960s (7.2%) and that they were becoming myopic at an earlier age.  Similar research in the Far East and Asia has found the problem to be even more dramatic.

Families are advised to be more aware of the need for their children to have proper eye care check-ups . Research showed that children with one myopic parent are three times more likely to be myopic themselves than a child without a myopic parent, and this increases to seven times more likely if both parents are myopic.

Time spent outdoors with exposure to daylight and limiting time spent looking at mobile devices and computer screens was found to reduce the risk of myopia. Contrary to some theories there was no direct evidence linking close work tasks to an increased risk.

Have you had your child’s eyes examined in the last two years – if not, perhaps it might be time.