Children with a low financial background are more likely to have vision problems


A new report by the European Journal of Ophthalmology shows a link between childhood vision problems and a low socio-economic background in the present, and even examines the link between childhood visual impairment and future earning capacity and social connections. According to the data, low-income families and maternal education Low showed an increased risk of developing significant myopia. The report was published on the occasion of International Vision Day which took place last week (14.10).

“In the past, the important and well-known connection to research was between education and many years of schooling and the development of myopia,” says Ortal Sabag, a senior optometrist and director of the research division at CooperVision. “More learning, and prolonged years of schooling, especially in early childhood, when the eye is in developmental stages, were considered a risk factor for the development of myopia because learning – both from reading and in front of a screen – requires long hours of looking at a near target. To the distance. ”

In recent years, more and more studies are beginning to be published which indicate a change in the status of those suffering from vision problems. The first swallow to point to the relationship as early as 2018 was a comprehensive study by the British Journal of Ophthalmology, which examined 5,711 children and showed amazing results – children with myopia also tended to suffer from high BMI, spend less time outdoors, and belong to families with socioeconomic backgrounds. low. The new report from the European Journal of Ophthalmology reinforces the link found by the initial British study while presenting identical data from other countries around the world. According to the data, children with myopia were found to be more likely to live with unmarried parents and in rented accommodation.

Let the kids spend time outside | Photo: shutterstock by EZ-Stock Studio

At least an hour and a half a day outside

The class difference of children with myopia today compared to the past can be attributed to a significant difference that most parents may not understand how critical it is in the probability of myopia – ‘staying out of the house’. If in the past all children, both from families with economic resilience and those who did not, used to play in the afternoons outside the home, today children from disadvantaged families go less to sports, camps, pools and outdoor activities. Which also explains the growing connection in the study between children with high BMI and children with myopia.

If before the corona year more children spent less time outside the home, the past year has only accelerated the element of prolonged stay at home, which has led to a further deterioration in the vision of Israeli children. An Israeli study that examined the myopia of Israeli children before the corona year compared to their post-closure vision found that in the past year there has been a 30% increase in children’s vision problems. So what can still be done to prevent the damage? The solution is quite simple:

“Experiments show that children should spend at least an hour and a half a day outside, every extra hour will lower the chance of myopia by another 2%,” Sabag recommends.

Although an hour and a half away from home does not sound like too complex a task to produce, studies published in Israel find that 58% of Israeli children are exposed to daylight less than two hours a day, and according to an annual report by the Child Welfare Council 50% of children receive a smartphone from age 10 to 10 12, and 43% of parents do not limit their children’s screen time.

“In an age where it seems that the corona is going to stay with us for a long time, this is an opportunity for a change in the way children learn in schools,” Sabag concludes. On the health of our children both in terms of vision and in terms of other physical aspects. “

By Editor

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