Our eyes are the windows to our soul, but more importantly, we rely on our eyes to navigate the world around us. In this guide, learn how you can help the little one build good eye habits and prevent or delay the onset of myopia.

Myopia Is Common, Not Unavoidable

Do you know that about half the children in Singapore have myopia (short-sightedness) by the time they are 12 years old?

While it is true that children’s myopia can be corrected by wearing spectacles, high myopia can lead to cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration in adulthood.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent or delay the onset of myopia in your child! Here’s how.

Related: Healthy Eyes, Clear Vision

Have Fun under the Sun

Plenty of studies have shown that spending time outdoors is the only proven way to prevent or delay myopia. This is yet another reason why Mum and Dad need to bring the little one out for daily walks or let your child play outside as much as possible.

It could be the park, the playground or the beach. Whatever the activity, always encourage your child to spend time outdoors for at least 2 hours every day and make sure everyone has fun! And of course, don’t forget the sunscreen and plenty of water.

No Unnecessary Near Work, Mum and Dad!

While the cause of myopia can be genetic, unnecessary near work—visual activities that are done at close distance are also known to contribute to myopia. Near work includes:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Using a computer
  • Drawing and painting
  • Playing with games on handheld devices, such as mobile phones
  • Doing craft work using small objects

Here are some tips for near-work activities:

Find the Perfect Lighting

You might have started reading with your little one. Here’s how you can protect his eyes when reading:

  1. Good lighting is important when it comes to reading, so make sure the room is properly lit.
  2. Do not let your child read while lying on the bed.
  3. Sit upright and hold the book a distance away from the eyes before your child starts diving into the exciting world of books.
  4. Choose books with a larger print so that your kid doesn’t have to squint.

Related: Books for Your Growing Child (Toddler and Preschooler)

Digital, at a Distance

Screen time before the age of two may delay may affect your child’s development. At age two, junior might be starting to show interest in electronic devices such as tablets and computers. Just like reading, there should be sufficient lighting when looking at a screen. Place the screen a distance away from your child’s eyes and reduce the monitor glare.

For television screens, the bigger the screen, the further away your child should be sitting. Some screens take up almost half the living room wall these days so it’s best if your kid sits far, far away.

Related: 9 Health Hazards of Electronic Devices for Kids

Take Frequent Breaks

It’s easy to get engrossed in near work activities. Remind and encourage your child to take frequent breaks and rest his eyes after a period of near work activities. It could be a simple act of closing his eyes or looking at trees from a distance outside the window.

Eye-Eye Doctor!

We see a dentist regularly, so it makes good sense to have our eyes checked regularly too. Make sure to get your child’s eyes checked once a year to make sure that they’re in excellent condition.

Every child, regardless of whether they have myopia or not, would benefit greatly by practising good eye care habits to take care of their eyes. So take good care of the little one’s eyes and help him maintain bright, healthy eyes for life.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.

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