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Opticians warn young screen users to take regular breaks during myopia awareness week

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An optician is warning young screen users to take a break during eyesight awareness week.Wigram & Ware Opticians, which has branches in both Lynn and Dersingham, says that more time playing outside can help delay the progression of an eye condition that threatens to affect half of the world’s population by 2050.Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is an eye condition that results in poor or blurred vision when viewing in the distance.

Optometrist and Director Sarah Baldock

In reflection of Myopia Awareness Week, Sarah Baldock from Wigram and Ware has urged parents to encourage their children to swap mobile phones and video games for outdoor activities to delay Myopia.Optometrist and director, Sarah said: “In myopic eyes, the length of the eyeball is often longer than it should be, causing images of distant objects to be focused ‘in front of’ rather than ‘on’ the light-sensitive layer of the eye known as the retina.“Myopia may increase the risk of several eye conditions such as retinal detachment or myopic maculopathy that could eventually result in visual impairment or even blindness later in life.

Sarah Baldock at Wigram and Ware Opticians

“Current research indicates that both genetics – if one of your parents has myopia, you are three times more likely to develop it – and environmental factors influence whether a child will develop myopia. They also play a role in the progression of myopia. “However, while we cannot change their genetics, it is useful to know that environment plays a significant role in myopia development and therefore, everyone can use some simple strategies to help protect their vision both now and into the future.”Sarah has said an increase in time outdoors of about two hours a day significantly reduced the risk of developing myopia.Parents are advised to encourage children to take regular breaks – for every 20 minutes spent on near tasks, take a break for 20 seconds gazing into the distance.Early diagnosis and intervention is key to slowing the progression of myopia, with regular eye examinations by an eye care professional recommended.

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