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Nearsightedness Increasing in Children

CARL JUNCTION, Mo.--- The strain of close work could be taking a toll on your children's eyes. The National Eye Institute reports the percent of people who are nearsighted has increased from 25% in the 1970's to more than 40% today.
CARL JUNCTION, Mo.--- The strain of close work could be taking a toll on your children's eyes. The National Eye Institute reports the percent of people who are nearsighted has increased from 25% in the 1970's to more than 40% today.

That increasing trend is seen with the younger generation, eye doctors say parents can be proactive to spot the underlying near point problem early on. Carl Junction lead district nurse, Stacey Whitney, says teachers are always on alert to notice student's eyesight problems.

"Squinting or having difficulty seeing the board, or students asking to move to the front of the class," said Stacey Whitney, the lead nurse for Carl Junction, Missouri schools.

She says about 25 students out of a 275 kindergarten class are referred for a more in-depth eye screening for nearsightedness.

"We used to see that kids start coming in at 3rd, 4th, 5th grade. Now we're starting to see them coming in at kindergarten, 1st grade," said David Coleman, optometrist with Coleman Vision.

David Coleman says with the everyday use of iPads, laptops, and other forms of technology, people are doing more close work.

"That's the problem, is that we have to do so much close work now a days. That's forcing children to become more nearsighted at a quicker rate than ever before," said Coleman.

Parents can catch red flags before their children have eyesight problems at a distance.

"They'll actually have problems up close. So when they read, they get tired. When they read, they look up at the blackboard and it is blurry," said Coleman.

Coleman offers even further advice, like taking breaks to look up in between reading.

"Keep your distance between what you are looking and reading from your knuckle to your elbow, it's called the harm distance," said Coleman.

Another tip is to make sure your kids spend plenty of time outdoors, that's been shown to decrease the chance for nearsightedness.



(KODE, Joplin)

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