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Why Is the Number of Children with Nearsightedness Soaring?

In the 1970s about 20% of children in the US had glasses. Today, that number has climbed closer to 40%, according to Dr. David Epley, a clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. But some estimate the percentage of young people with myopia (nearsightedness) is even greater at more than 45%. And by 2050, it’s possible that as much as a quarter of the world may be nearsighted. (Source)

What is contributing to this increase in nearsightedness? While genetics can sometimes play a role, our environment and behaviors also have a hand in vision issues. The two main factors are:

  1. Digital screen time: We often hold our screens, such as phones, tablets and computers, close to our faces. That close proximity can put strain on our eyes because the eye flexes muscles that tell the body to grow the eyeball. While the eyeball naturally lengthens, it will expand a little more each year, thus leading to nearsightedness. (Source)
  2. Spending time indoors: Natural sunlight stabilizes vision, so a lack of exposure to sunlight can lead to nearsightedness. Recent studies have even found that spending more time outdoors may help prevent the progression of nearsightedness in children. (Source)

School nurses know the importance of screening for vision problems before a child enters school and periodically after that. That’s why MacGill sells the most current FAR/Distance Vision Screening Charts. These charts follow the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recommendations from evidence-based sources including the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, Prevent Blindness, and Bright Futures.

You can shop MacGill’s selection of FAR/Distance Vision Charts by clicking here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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