Do you wear glasses? Does your spouse wear glasses? Is it your children’s fate that they will also need glasses? Have you ever considered that there may be something you can do to protect and preserve your child’s vision? There is.
I began wearing glasses for near sightedness while I was in sixth grade. The week before I started high school I was fitted with contact lenses. I recall as a teen deciding that I would not marry a man who also wore glasses because I was afraid our children would all have serious vision issues. As is the case with most of our nonsense prerequisites for true love, when I found Mr. Right his vision was not important at all. Yes, he was wearing glasses, and had been since he was six years old. Our combined genetic pool was not promising.
Homeschooling is not the answer to vision issues, but it was through this medium that I learned about the neurological development of vision. An early proponent for home schooling was Dr. Raymond Moore. I first heard him speak on Focus on the Family in 1983. My initial response was not positive, but that is a story for a different blog, not this one. Dr. Moore believed there are neurological reasons for delaying formal education until at least age 7. He promoted daily outdoor, physical activity for younger children. He wrote “children’s eyes are usually damaged by too much close work” on page 151 in his book Home Grown Kids, in 1981.
The answer is outside playtime. Recently I found this same advice from other sources.
In the April 2016 issue of Parents Magazine on page 44 in the Kids Health News section was a brief article titled, Eye Opener. It stated nearisghtedness (myopia) is the number one reason kids need glasses. A Chinese study found “children who had an extra 40 minutes of outdoor exercise each school day were 23 percent less likely to have developed myopia three years later than kids who didn’t get extra outdoor time.”
My local paper printed on April 15, 2016 the article, Outdoor play does a young, growing body plenty of good, by columnist Claudia Quigg. She reported on the increasing numbers of young children needing corrective glasses and the AMA’s report of the recent study suggesting an additional 40 minutes of daily outdoor activity.
My children needed no coaxing to play outside. The bigger struggle was to get them inside. As we homeschooled pre-school through second grade, I alternated up-close /book work with activities that allowed for physical movement and distance vision. I think it was a wise plan. Did it make a difference? It didn’t hurt. Only one of our five adult children wears glasses. He started needing them in his high school years.
The wives of our three married sons all have vision needs. So far three of our eleven grandchildren also wear glasses, at least some of the time. One was born with vision issues.
Conclusion: Turn off the screens, close the books, and go outside to play. Hooray, for kids and hooray, for parents.