NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – School is in session. If your student is struggling, consider this before moving them to the back of the class.
“Have their eyes checked,” says Dr. Aimee Jacobs, an optometrist with Treehouse Eyes’ Performance Vision Therapy location in Franklin.
She explains, “There’s been a huge increase.”
An increase in young patients who may not even realize they have vision issues.
“If they’re having problems focusing in school. If they can’t stay on task. If it seems like it might be a behavior issue,” Jacobs says, “a lot of times it’s because they can’t see what they’re doing or can’t see it well enough to focus on it.”
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that home confinement during the pandemic, including increased exposure to digital devices, contributed to a significant increase in myopia – often referred to as nearsightedness.
“Increased screen time is a risk factor for myopic onset and for myopic progression,” Jacobs says.
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In the Nashville area, an estimated 80,000 children between the ages of 6 and 17 are myopic – 29% of the child population in the region.
“Myopia is more than just blurry far away vision,” Dr. Jacobs explains, “it’s the eyes getting longer over time which can lead to sight-threatening conditions for your child in the future, and there are ways to manage that now.”
The solution may be as simple as slipping glasses on to clear up vision while treating myopia at the source.
“There are actually a few different treatment options,” Jacobs explains. “Specialty contact lenses are options and another one of them is an eye drop option. All of them aim at the same goal which is to stop the quickness of the eye elongating and keep the prescription lighter in the future.”