Kids Wearing Spectacles – Can It Be Avoided?


A lot of children aged 5 and above (sometimes even below 5 years) are seen wearing glasses. Is this a good trend, what as parents are we doing wrong that more and more are kids wearing spectacles. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Can it be avoided, is there any treatment? Such questions may be going around in your head, right? Let us hear from the experts at Vista Eye Specialist and get to know the correct information.

GetDoc: Nowadays we see a lot of children aged less than 5 years wearing specs. Stats show that 2 out of 5 kids are wearing specs these days. What could be the reason for this?

Vista Eye Specialist: Though there is no consensus among doctors as to what may be the main reason, most experts believe that with the increasing exposure of kids to hand held electronic devices such as hand phones and also tablets, kids are spending excessive amounts of time on activities that may strain the eye, thus resulting in fatigue and possibly increasing the risk of short-sightedness.

Studies have shown that kids who spend more time indoors with electronic devices, watching TV or reading, are more likely to get short-sighted than kids who spend more of their time outdoors.

GetDoc: Are tabs and iPads the new evils?

Vista Eye Specialist: If used correctly, these devices are beneficial for the education of kids and in our times, a useful tool for communication and entertainment.

However, if tablets are used by parents as a tool to distract or occupy a kid, many times the usage is abused and kids spend too much time on it. The key is to manage the amount of time that a kid spends using a tablet.

GetDoc: What are the side effects of kids wearing specs? Does it affect self confidence?

There are some who believe that the use of spectacles may increase short-sightedness, rather than help to control it. There are contradicting studies as to what spectacles can cause but a new trend is into special lenses that are designed specially to help control the progress of short-sightedness. Some kids do suffer from low self-confidence as a result of having to wear the glasses (being laughed at by peers) or as a result of not being able to see without them. However, this has been largely reduced by the increase of kids having to wear glasses and the nicely designed frames now available.

GetDoc: What can be improved so that they can avoid getting specs?

As mentioned above, kids should be encouraged to spend more time outdoors. It is also advised that they should practice good reading habits such as resting occasionally, sitting in an upright position, with the reading material at a reasonable distance away, and with the correct amount of lighting to help reduce eye strain or fatigue.

Actual advice:

  • Hold any reading material 30 cm away from the face/eyes, and try to read while sitting upright rather than lying down

  • When watching television, the television must be approximately 2 metres away

  • Computer screens should be approximately 50 cm away from the eyes and adjusted to minimize glare

  • Lighting should be sufficient to illuminate the room when reading, when using the computer or when watching television, but must not cause any glare

  • Encourage your child to take a break to rest the eyes every 30 to 40 minutes of reading or watching television; look out the window at far away objects and do eye exercises to relax the eyes

  • Encourage children to spend more time outdoors.

GetDoc: What about food? What should they eat to improve eye sight?

Vista Eye Specialist: These are the foods that you can give your child to improve his/her eye sight.

Rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins, kale is also a good source of beta-carotene and is the top combo of both lutein and zeaxanthin; one cup of greens contains 23.8 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. Use kale in a salad or a side dish; blend it into fruit smoothies; or bake the leaves into kale chips.

It’s not just a tasty side; corn also contains some lutein and zeaxanthin. Research in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry discovered that cooking this veggie longer increased the amount of lutein and the antioxidant levels per serving. You can add it to chilis, soups, and casseroles.

One cup of nutrient-dense spinach packs a healthy 20.4 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. Add spinach to sandwiches and wraps, use it as a salad starter, or make green smoothies with it. Note: Cooking the greens helps your body better absorb lutein.

This fibre-rich veggie is rich in vitamin C, and also contains eye-boosting beta-carotene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. Add cooked broccoli to omelettes and frittatas, or toss it in marinara sauces and pasta dishes.

One of the healthiest ways to start your day, protein-packed eggs are also provide nutrients such as lutein, vitamin E, and omega 3s, in addition to other nutrients and vitamins. Certain eggs are even better for you: Eggland’s Best eggs, for example, have 38 percent more lutein than regular eggs, 10 times the amount of vitamin E, and more than double the omega-3s in regular eggs.

These tasty citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which may help improve the health of your eye tissue, according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study, a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. Vitamin C may help regenerate other important antioxidants, such as vitamin E in the eye.

GetDoc: Can kids as small as 5 or 6 years old undergo Lasik surgery and get rid of eye power?

No. There are many reasons for that, such as suitability for surgery in mind or physically. Also, as the kid’s ages, the power is likely to increase again. Therefore, the kid would need treatment again, which is not advisable.
GetDoc: Any eye exercises that we can make kids do to avoid eye power?

Many eye exercise programs that promise to help kids avoid eye power have little or no scientific basis or proof that it works. In many cases, these products have been taken off the market (in the U.S) for misleading advertising regarding its effectiveness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued a statement that there is no evidence that eye exercises does indeed help with our eyesight.

Want to be sure your kids are on the right track? Make an appointment with an Ophthalmologist using GetDoc in Malaysia as well as Singapore.


Hridya Anand

by Hridya Anand

A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.


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