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How to prevent your child from becoming nearsighted

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With increasing rates of myopia in most countries, many parents are wondering what they can do to keep their children from becoming myopic (nearsighted). Methods of myopia prevention have been researched extensively, but only limited success has been achieved. However, a few methods have shown promise.

One method that is fairly effective is the use of Atropine eye drops that paralyze the focusing system of the eyes. This has been shown to keep some children from becoming more nearsighted, but it has side effects including an inability to focus on near work and light sensitivity. So, Atropine is not commonly used as a myopia prevention strategy in the United States, though the technique it is often employed in Asia, especially in Taiwan and China.

Other strategies involve contact lenses. The first of these is termed orthokeratology, also known as corneal reshaping contact lenses. These lenses gently reshape your cornea at night when worn while sleeping to provide clear vision during the day, they also have been shown to reduce myopic progression. It is also possible to use multifocal soft contact lenses to limit myopic progression in a similar fashion as orthokeratology lenses, however the effect is not at strong or repeatable.

Finally, the easiest, cheapest, and most fun way to prevent myopia is simply to let your child play outside as much as possible as time spent outdoors has been linked to lower levels of myopia.

For more information, and links to the research mentioned in this article check out myopiaprevention.org

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