Little time outdoors could cause nearsightedness in children

1 in 4 preschoolers have an undiagnosed or untreated vision problem in the United States.

Photo: Lapina / Shutterstock

Myopia is a disease linked to various eye problems and It is considered the main cause of irreversible visual impairment in the elderly.

But this pathology is usually acquired in childhood and the disease seems to be caused by genetics, insufficient time outdoors and many years of being in college classrooms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that approximately 1 in 4 preschool-age children have an undiagnosed or untreated vision problem in the country.

Because many vision problems start at an early age, they recommend parents make sure to get their child regular eye exams to keep their eyes healthy.

According to the review of Hindustan TimesIn a new study, researchers discovered five genetic variants that increase the likelihood of becoming nearsighted as children get older.

However, few have been shown to increase risk specifically in those with related lifestyle variables.

At least 340,000 participants of European ancestry underwent genome study to identify genetic variants that make people more susceptible to nearsightedness in combination with intensive schooling.

The study yielded five genetic variants that progressively increased people’s risk of becoming nearsighted the longer they spent in school, especially for people who had attained college-level education.

According to the findings, three of these variants were previously unknown, while two were found in cohort studies from East Asia, where about 80% of children become myopic.

For comparison, around 30% of children develop myopia in the West.

For this reason, the researchers concluded that these findings provide new insights into the biological pathways that cause myopiabut more research is needed to understand how those pathways interact with lifestyle factors to cause the condition.

What eye exams can you do to your children?

The CDC recommends getting an eye evaluation, which is a quick check. It can be done by a family doctor, pediatrician, school nurse, or other health care professional.

Another option is a complete eye exam, it is a little more rigorous than the previous one and is performed by an eye specialist, who is also called an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

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