Newcastle Optician Warns Against Threat to Eyesight During Awareness Week

Daniel Gallon of Querido & Davidson Optometrists in Tyne & Wear, Newcastle
Daniel Gallon of Querido & Davidson Optometrists in Tyne & Wear, Newcastle

Myopia Awareness Week Highlights Risks of Increased Screen Time

Spending less time on screens and more time playing outside can help delay the progression of myopia, an eye condition that threatens to affect half of the world’s population by 2050, according to a Newcastle optician.

Understanding Myopia

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, results in poor or blurred vision when viewing distant objects. Daniel Gallon of Querido & Davidson Optometrists in Tyne & Wear, Newcastle, has urged parents to encourage their children to swap mobile phones and video games for outdoor activities. Research indicates that this can delay the onset of myopia in those who might be susceptible.

Expert Insight

Daniel Gallon explains:

“In myopic eyes, the length of the eyeball is often longer than it should be, causing images of distant objects to be focused ‘in front of’ rather than ‘on’ the light-sensitive layer of the eye known as the retina. Myopia may increase the risk of several eye conditions such as retinal detachment or myopic maculopathy that could eventually result in visual impairment or even blindness later in life.”

The Role of Genetics and Environment

Gallon continues:

“Current research indicates that both genetics – if one of your parents has myopia, you are three times more likely to develop it – and environmental factors influence whether a child will develop myopia. They also play a role in the progression of myopia. However, while we cannot change their genetics, it is useful to know that environment plays a significant role in myopia development and therefore, everyone can use some simple strategies to help protect their vision both now and into the future.”

Practical Advice for Parents

An increase in outdoor time of about two hours per day helps children use their full range of vision and significantly reduces the risk of developing myopia. Conversely, lots of near vision work without breaks can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Parents are advised to encourage children to take regular breaks – for every 20 minutes spent on near tasks, take a break for 20 seconds gazing into the distance (20 feet or six metres away).

Importance of Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis and intervention are key to slowing the progression of myopia. Regular eye examinations by an eye care professional are recommended to ensure early detection and appropriate management.

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