Two studies regarding childhood vision have been published recently and provide new insights on myopia and hyperopia (nearsightedness and farsightedness).
Myopia (nearsightedness) is on the increase in children. There is a genetic component to myopia and it can run in families. The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction study found that children with one parent who has myopia is at least three times more likely to be myopic than those without and if both parents are nearsighted the risk is more than seven times greater. Myopia is most likely to develop between the ages of six and thirteen. The research found that children who get more physical exercise have lower rates of myopia than children who stay indoors. Researchers say that just an hour extra outdoors can protect children from developing myopia. They believe it is the effect of the outdoor light on the eye and being outside changes these levels in the body. So tell you kids to play outside for at least an hour a day. They will thank you (for a lot of reasons!).
A second study funded by the National Institute of Health and published in the journal Ophthalmology this month identified a link between readiness skills and uncorrected hyperopia (farsightedness) in children ages 4 and 5. The study revealed significantly worse performance by children with uncorrected hyperopia on the Test of Preschool Early Literacy. Performance was most affected in the print knowledge part of the test which assesses the ability to identify letters and written words. The study concluded that these differences are meaningful because formal learning for many children begins in the preschool years.or many children begins in the preschool years.