Singapore has one of the world’s highest rates of myopia. Here are steps to improving your child's eyesight.

Here are some simple eyecare tips for your child.

1. Reduce time spent on near work

• Reduce the time your children are allowed to spend playing games on hand-held electronic devices, handphone games and other computer-related activities such as blogging and internet chats.

• Encourage your child to take a break after 30-40 minutes of near work such as reading or writing. Your child should look at distant objects for 3 to 5 minutes. They could look out of the window into the distance or at nearby greenery.

2. Increase time spent on outdoor activities

• There is a growing body of evidence that outdoor activities may delay the onset or progression of myopia in your child. So get your child to spend time playing ball games, walking in the park or go on family picnics at the beach, etc.

• Outdoor activities should not include reading or playing hand-held games outdoors. Instead, encourage your child to engage in fun activities that involve body movements to increase physical fitness. Better yet, join in the fun!

3. Encourage other healthy eyecare habits

• Ensure there is adequate lighting in the room.

• When reading, make sure they hold the book about 30cm away from their eyes.

• Make sure when using the computer, the monitor screen is about 50cm away from their eyes.

• Sit at a distance from the TV that is appropriate to its size. The bigger the TV, the further away your child should sit.

4. Go for eye check-ups yearly

Even if your child has been screened for myopia in school, it’s a good idea to take them for a check-up if they are squinting, having headaches or blurred vision.

5. Ensure a healthy lifestyle

• Encourage them to eat a balanced diet.

• Try to make sure your child has at least eight hours of sleep each night to rest the eyes.

• Instead of just playing computer games, get them to participate in outdoor games as well.

This article was first published by the Health Promotion Board.

Photo: iStock

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