It’s everywhere, but you might just be missing it.
Riddle me this:
What goes around and around, but never gets dizzy? It spins on itself but doesn’t go crazy. You can’t possibly touch it, but it could burn you badly. Now tell me what you think this is, confidently.
It’s the sun – the answer to healthier eyes is the sun! According to an article by the BBC, getting children to play outdoors every day can combat the onset of myopia (more commonly known as short sightedness). Myopia is a common vision condition in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away appear blurry.
Too often today, we see children and adults alike staring at a tiny screen for hours. Our devices are here to stay, and they’ve been incredibly helpful to us. However, limits must be set. Irresponsible device use can lead to prolonged near-work activity and Digital Eye Strain (DES). This can harm the development of our eyes too. Our eyes get tired, dry, and itchy, and we ourselves begin to feel lethargic. But we carry on using them anyway, and most of the time we use them indoors. As a result, for many of us and our children today, we’ve almost forgotten the joy of disconnecting and embracing the outdoors.
We know how hot the outdoors can get, and the heat is unbearable to say the least. That being said, the sun is undoubtedly the best source of Vitamin D which plays an integral role in reducing the progression of myopia. Further research has demonstrated that going outdoors helps to slow down the rate of growth in the axial length of the eye. Myopia is typically caused by the lengthening of the axial length of the eye. The elongated axial length of the eye causes light to focus in front of the retina and causes images to be blurred. Hence, myopia occurs. By slowing down the eye’s axial length growth, myopia is prevented from progressing at a faster rate.
There are a variety of things for you to enjoy the outdoors, and they’re usually free of charge. If you notice that you and your child are constantly using your phone, take this opportunity to plan a family outing. Perhaps a walk around the garden, or take the family out for a cycle by the beach. A little sweat under the sun can spell hours of fun.
If the screen constantly gets in the way of your child’s life, consider setting some time limits on your child’s and your own phone. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently published an article about the optimal amount of time your little one should spend on their devices. If you want to, you can easily limit your child’s screen time using the plano app.
The plano app not only helps to manage your child’s smart device use, it teaches your child healthy eye care habits too. The app will remind your child to place their phones at a good distance and take a break from their phone every 30 minutes to rest their eyes. If your child follows these eye care reminders, they earn points. These points can be used to request for device-free, outdoor activities and fun items in the plano Shop. From football classes to scooters, your child can enjoy a plethora of activities under the sun through the plano Shop. The sun is our friend, not foe. More importantly, the sun is your eye’s best bet against myopia progression. Bring your child and yourself outdoors to soak up some of those golden rays today to guard yourselves against myopia.
Besides prevention, early detection allows for timely and effective treatment options to prevent myopia progression and complications that may arise. “Indicators of myopia in children include signs of squinting, viewing objects from an unusually short distance, poor concentration in school, and complains of frontal headaches,” said Dr Fahir Khiard, Medical Director of Speedoc.
Founded in 2017, Speedoc is a 24/7 mobile app that allows users to request for medical services such as general practitioner (GP), ambulance, medication delivery, to a location of choice. The home medical services need not be limited to only immobile patients, but to everyday people who may require GP or A&E visits for themselves or their loved ones.
Added Dr Fahir: “While most cases we received are related to eye infections, viral or bacterial conjunctivitis where we prescribe lubricant eye drops or antibiotics; we do receive requests for eye assessments, typically done with a snellen chart and clinical assessments to determine squint or eyelid abnormalities.”