The answer is not quite stop, but slow down significantly yes.
This blog is for kids who are nearsighted, not far-sighted, between the age of 0-17.
You may ask, “why only kids?”
In theory, the methods to slow myopia (aka nearsightedness) could work in adults whose eyes keep changing. The big BUT is that we don’t have much scientific literature on it. So, stay tuned...
Kids eyes tend to grow much more faster and are more prone to having myopic progression.
The good news is that we do have lots of evidence based studies that show ways doctors can prescribe to give a child the best chance of slowing down their eyes from growing into more myopia or nearsightedness - the key word is slowing down. There are no scientifically proven ways of completely stopping your kids eyes from getting “worse.” If we did, then we would be giving it out like candy.
What we DO know about myopia?
Your child has a 18% chance of being nearsighted by 11-12 years old if one parent is or 34% if both parents are nearsighted - gotta love parents
We know you know this already: the more your kid stares at a screen, of any kind, the more risk of being nearsighted, especially if they start at a young age (if you want to know the recommended guidelines for your kid’s screen time, check out the Canadian Pediatric link here)
The more time your kid spends inside vs outside, the higher the risk
This one’s not as obvious, but makes sense.
How Do I Slow Down My Kids Myopia?
The best medicine is always never having the problem to begin with. Based on the list we mentioned above, 2/3 factors that increase your risk of becoming myopic are within your control! Cut down screen time, and not just a little, and get your kids playing outside.
If you’re the group where it’s too late or you can’t help being spending your days indoors staring at a screen all day, then we have ways we can help.
Get To It Already! What Can We Do For My Kids Eyes?
Great question, we’re glad you asked.
The three main ways doctors can do it are by one or more of the following:
Glasses - say what?
Contact Lenses - no way?
Pharmaceutical Eye Drops - get out of here!
Each method have their pros and cons, which is where our lovely Optometrist come in handy. These tools are available for any eye doc to use, but docs like to decide which method works best based on your child.
We will do a dive into the three methods in other conversations, stay tuned friends.
About the Author Dr. Steven Hoang received his Doctor of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. He serves as the owner and full-time eye doctor of Inglewood and Ramsay at Respect Eyecare. His special interest is in contact lenses and dry eye syndrome.