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In The Line Of Vision

What Should I know Bout Myopia?

The condition is not just inconvenient because your child has to wear spectacles or contact lenses. It can present risky complications later in life and these couse trigger some of the conditions:

Retinal Detachment

The retina becomes separated from the eyeball because of the effects of myopia and vision is impaired to the point of blindness.


Sever myopia can cause the build-up of excessive fluid pressure inside the eyeballs. If untreated, this too can lead to blindness.


People with sever myopia have a higher chance of developing cataracts or opacity of the lens at an earlier age.

Macular Degeneration

The retina degenerates as a result of severe myopia, impairing the central area of the vision.

How Is It Caused And Can Myopia In Children Be Slowed Down?

Myopia is caused by a combination of genes and environment factors, the main culprit of which is excessive near work - reading, working on the computer, writing, sewing or playing handheld computer games. It is believed that with excessive near work, the eyeball has to regularly compensate for the close distance and so grows longer.

That way less effort is needed to focus light rays from distant objects but the eye gets elongated and light rays from distant objects are focused in front of the retina instead of on it, resulting in blurred images. Limiting the duration of activities near focus can help to control the elongation. Taking regular vision breaks helps and children should be reminded to do so.

How Can Schools Help?

Some Of The Things Teachers Can Do Include

  • Establishing a system within the school curriculum to limit the duration of continuous near work for students by ensuring vision breaks of three to five minutes after every 30 to 40 minutes of continuous near vision work.
  • Ensuring adequate lighting in all areas where near work activities such as reading and writing are conducted. Discourage children from reading in poorly lit areas.
  • Facilitating a proper distance between students and visual aids such as the TV screen (2m at minimum).
  • Encourage proper seating and reading posture.

What Can Parents Do?

When Reading

  • Teach the child to sit upright in a comfortable chair and hold the book about 30cm away from his eyes.
  • Ensure adequate lighting in the room. Look out for bright lights or a glare that falls either on the book or your child's face.
  • Choose books that have a reasonably large print.

When Using The Computer

  • Position the monitor about 50cm away from the eyes.
  • The lighting level in the room should be adequate.
  • Adjust the monitor screen to reduce glare. Glare can result from the reflection of other sources of light.

When Watching TV Or Playing Video Games

  • Sit at least 2m away from the screen.
  • The room light should be switched on and the centre of the screen should be at eye level or lower.
  • Do not watch television while lying down.

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