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Is It Time for an Eye Exam?

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There are two things I have begun to notice in family and the social gatherings I attend: an increasing number of people looking at their cell phones when they ought to be in the present moment, and an increasing number of children with glasses for short-sightedness or nearsightedness.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month and it would be a good idea to take a quick look at some basics of nearsightedness in children - how you can tell it is time to take your child for an eye check-up, what happens in the condition of nearsightedness, and what could be the possible reasons why children as young as 5 years old get glasses to correct short-sightedness or myopia.

As per the National Council’s For Biotechnology Information’s journal PubMed (Article Title: Patterns of Eye Care Use and Expenditures Among Children with Diagnosed Eye Conditions; Author(s): Michael Ganz, Ziming Xuan, and David G. Hunter; URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077983/#R5), as many as 2% of first graders have myopia and this percentage increases drastically to 15% by the time they enter high school (Source: Optometry & Vision Science; Report Title: Myopia development in childhood ; Author(s): Zadnik K. The Glenn A. Fry Award Lecture (1995); Year of Publication: 1997;74)

Your child could be beginning to develop myopia if:
• S/he complains of blurred vision of distant objects and words/letters on boards and books.
• S/he squints or frowns while reading or watching television
• S/he gets watery eyes a few minutes into reading or trying to visually focus
• S/he tries to go close to the object to recognize or read it
• S/he complains of mild headaches after trying to visually focus at school

If any one or a combination of the above symptoms are true for your child, it may be a good idea to take her/him for an eye check-up.
(Source: British United Provident Association (BUPA), U.K; Article Title: Short-sightedness; URL: http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/s/myopia#textBlock213181)

It is believed that persons with near-sightedness/short-sightedness/myopia possess eyeballs that are slightly longer than those with normal vision when the eyeball dimension measurements are taken front to back.

In those with perfect vision, light rays enter through the lens of the eyeball and help form an image of the object we see on the retina. In persons with myopia, this image is formed slightly ahead of or before the retina and this makes the object/word that they are seeing appear blurred. (Source: WebMD; Report Title: Eye Health and Nearsightedness in Children; Reviewed by: John P Keenan, MD on September 26, 2009; URL: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/myopia-nearsightedness-children)

There are various thoughts on why children develop myopia. Some of the popular causes to which myopia in children has been attributed are:
• Genetics / Heredity
• Premature birth and low birth weights
• Ethnicity
• Method of eye usage
• Diet
• Living environment – surroundings, pollution, stress levels, lighting, duration of daily exposure to sunlight etc.
(Sources: British United Provident Association (BUPA), U.K; Article Title: Short-sightedness; URL: http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/s/myopia#textBlock213181. WebMD; Report Title: Eye Health and Nearsightedness in Children; Reviewed by: John P Keenan, MD on September 26, 2009; URL: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/myopia-nearsightedness-children and http://www.eyecollege.com/causes_of_myopia.asp)


Reviewed July 18, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.

Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1 (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2 (Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.sterlingpublishers.com/search_result.asp) and the upcoming The Urban Woman’s Integrated Fitness Guide (Publisher: Hay House). She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com

Edited by Shannon Koehle

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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