WHAT IS MYOPIA? By Dr. James Ivanoski, Optometrist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common visual problem that affects about 25 million people in the U.S. alone. It is an eye focusing disorder (not an eye disease) where things appear clear close-up but blurred far-away without glasses. Those with myopia have a slightly longer eye than those without. Glasses act to bend the light rays so they focus on the back of the eye. Although family history is a factor, it is not the only reason for myopia.
The largest study of childhood eye diseases ever undertaken found the incidence of myopia has doubled over the last 50 years among children in the U.S. The Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS) looked at over 9,000 children and found a possible reason for the increase in nearsightedness: too much “screen time” and not enough sunlight or outdoor play. This means that excessive use of mobile devices and close-up work with children may adversely affect their vision. A prior study in 2008 followed children in Australia for 2 year and found that those who spent more time outdoors developed less myopia than their more shut-in counterparts.
Reading and screen time are certainly important for intellectual development but, as with most things in life, a good balance is indicated. Of course myopia is not a debilitating condition, it is managed with glasses, contact lenses or even LASIK when they are older. But with outdoor activities you get a two-for-one: healthy eyes and bodies.
Worried about your children’s vision? Call for a complete eye examination and be assured they are seeing at their very best.
Dr. James Ivanoski practices Optometry at Madison Medical Eye Care (formally known as Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals). He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans in both the Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin offices.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.