SEND THE KIDS OUTSIDE FOR THEIR VISION by Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
It's getting cold outside but a recent study indicates that children are less likely to become near-sighted if they spend more time outdoors! The May issue of "Investigative Ophthalmology" reported on a long-term study of children followed from age 7 to 15. Those who spent a significant amount of time outdoors had a 33% reduction in near-sightedness at the end of the study period.
The cause was speculated to be due to the spectrum of light exposure found outdoors and how the eye focuses far-away compared to close-up. Near-sightedness is very common in school age children. Sometimes the changes occur slowly so the child and their parents are not aware of the problem. Then when they come in for an exam everyone is surprised by what we find!
Risk factors for near-sightedness include a family history of needing glasses for distance viewing in parents or other relatives but that is not always the case. Because it is easily overlooked, we suggest that school age children be seen for a complete eye exam yearly.
Besides glasses, near-sightedness can be managed with contact lenses in older children. Usually if parents wear contacts they have a pretty good idea when their children are ready for this change. By 13 most kids do well and some younger ones are up to the challenge.
he take home message is that many school-age children will need glasses or contacts even if they are outside on a regular basis. And if their last eye exam was more than a year ago, it's time to schedule another.
Dr. Mark German practices general Optometry at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
To learn more about eye care call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com