AEHI unearths the Silent Epidemic in children-Myopia.

Myopia also known as short sightedness is the new silent pandemic. The prevalence of Myopia is increasing drastically over past few decades. According to Brien Holden Vision Institute, Australia; approximately half of the world population would be myopic in the next 35 years to come. Some countries like US have displayed a 40% increase in myopia in children. Unfortunately, India is not far behind and has shown radical increase in myopia in children.

Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute (AEHI) which is one of the best eye hospitals in Navi Mumbai embarked on a mission- “Nanhe Nayan”; a school eye screening initiative that screened 25000 children in the past one year for refractive errors. The results were shocking. 25% of the 25000 children screened were diagnosed to have impaired vision (

Dr Vandana Jain, Director of AEHI and Cornea, Cataract & Lasik Surgeon said, “The advancement in the world of electronics with the younger generation spending more time indoors with Ipads, laptops, mobile phones, video games could be cited as a probable cause for this steep rise over the last decade. Incessant use of near vision for hours contributes in some way to rising incidence of myopia. Spending 14 hours or more time outdoors per week where eye muscles are relaxed and can focus on distant objects can reduce myopia by up to one third, according to findings from the International Society for Eye Research. We really need to encourage children to spend more time outdoors and less time with the gadgets.”

Dr Prachi Agashe, Pediatric Ophthalmologist added, “Uncorrected refractive errors such as myopia can have a negative impact on the child`s life and have also been cited as important causes for headache, poor scholastic performance and reduced self-esteem. Also if these errors are not corrected at the right age it leads to permanent impairment of vision which cannot be rectified in adulthood thereby also limiting career options of the child in future.”
Periodic eye check-up for every child is a must as this can detect the problem in time and help implement the necessary corrective measures.

Dr Vandana Jain further elaborates, “The increasing incidence of Myopia is going to put a lot of eyecare and financial burden on the government and the private sector. As of now in Navi Mumbai, we are getting lot of young adults with high myopia coming for lasik vision correction surgery to get the glasses removed. While 80% of these are fit for lasik, others have to wear glasses or contact lenses lifelong. It seems that glasses are becoming the norm for young india rather than an exception. If we do not change lifestyle of our kids drastically, we won’t be able to change this rising trend any soon. Initiatives like happy streets, walks, trips, outdoor games etc are good steps in this direction to bring the children outdoors and help them fight the myopia menace.”

Recommendations:
1. Regular eye check-ups for school children every year
2. Limit time on mobiles/ tablets/ TV to one hour per day
3. Two hours of outdoor activity post school every day
4. Intermittent breaks while studying -5-10 minutes every one hour
5. Ensure proper posture/ distance (30cm) from computers, devices while using them
6. Ensure proper lighting in the room while kids are studying.

About Dr. Vandana Jain:

Dr Vandana Jain is a renowned Cornea, Lasik and Cataract surgeon and the Director of AEHI. Dr Jain has won best fellow awards and medals at Delhi University and L. V. Prasad Eye Institute and then further trained at Harvard, USA. Having performed more than 10,000 cataract operations, she has vast experience of dealing with all kinds of complicated cataract surgeries. According to her cataract surgery needs to be customised to the patient’s needs and physical disability. She additionally believes that team work and alliance with other specialists help in planning and giving the best cataract surgery results to the patients.

You may also like to read: Myopia Hyperopia and Astigmatism

About Dr. Prachi Agashe:

Dr. Prachi Agashe is a renowned Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Adult Squint Surgeon at Advanced Eye Hospital. She has a lot of experience and expertise in dealing with children's eye problems.

About Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute

Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute in Navi Mumbai is equipped with one of the best eye hospitals in Mumbai. Comprehensive eye check-up and the operation theatres are state-of-art and equipped with the best diagnostic and surgery machines. Personalized care, infection free modular operation theatres and beautiful ambiance complement the cutting edge eye care offered at AEHI. Besides treating patients from Kharghar, Nerul, Vashi and Panvel, patients from all over western India travel to AEHI for world class eye care management.

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