Nearsighted vision a natural part of child's life - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Nearsighted vision a natural part of child's life

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TYLER (KYTX) - Technology has made for a lot of time spent in front of a screen. Now, there's concern that staring at a tablet, smartphone or computer can cause nearsighted vision in children. But, eye doctors say we shouldn't be worried.

"Sports- tennis. She enjoys swimming. So, she's very active."

Tammy Batte's seven-year-old daughter, Mary Claire, also enjoys her new tablet.

"Oh, she loves her tablet."

And, Dr. Mike Ford with Dehaven Eye Clinic says at some point, Mary Claire will probably develop nearsightedness- but not because of that tablet.

"It is probably not directly attributable to using tablets because near activities are always part of a children's routine. That could be playing games, that could be reading books. In that age group, of course, they're learning to read."

Dr. Ford says the growth and development of the human eye naturally leads to a shift in the direction of myopia, or nearsightedness, which noticeably occurs between the ages of six and nine.

"That is inevitable. So, parents should not be terribly concerned when their child, let us say, has received a tablet as a gift and has been using it, goes to the eye doctor and is diagnosed with nearsightedness and perhaps prescribed a pair of glasses because it was going to happen anyway."

In fact, Dr. Ford says there are more children who are nearsighted than farsighted, or who have perfect vision. However- 

"As a parent, my personal observation has been, all children do better when they spend a limited amount of time in front of screens and more time being physically active and engaged in, what I would call, 'real world activities.'"

Batte says that's always an important part of her daughter's day.

"She loves playing outside. She's very, you know, active and enjoys life."

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