EXPERT-VISION/BM HAVE REGULAR CHECK-UP TO AVOID MYOPIA AMONG CHILDREN - OPTOMETRIST
July 29 18:09
KUALA LUMPUR, A mother, Marhaini Jasman, 46, was worried when her second child, Nuraini Aisya Syamsul Afendi, had a problem studying and could not write properly since starting pre-school at four.
The source of the problem was detected when the child had a medical check-up in school when she was in standard one.
Marhaini said her child had myopia or short-sightedness.
"Initially, I thought Nuraina had problems studying," she told Bernama.
She said Nuraina has been advised to have a check-up every six months and had to wear a pair of glasses before seven years old to correct the defect.
"Now Nuraina is eight years old and her performance has improved and her writing is orderly and nice," she said.
Nuraina Aisya is among the three million children below 12 years old suffering from myopia in the country.
According to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia optometrist Assoc Prof Dr Haliza Abdul Mutalib, about 30 per cent or three in 10 of children suffered from myopia as early as three years old.
She said the key sources of the problem were genetic or environmental, which involved the use of gadgets which needed focusing at close range.
"Nowadays, three-year-old children are experts at using tablets, computers and playing video games, without realising that these activities will increase the risk of them suffering from myopia," she said.
Dr Haliza said parents should now bring their children to have an eye check at four years old or before starting pre-school, instead of seven.
She said parents must be aware of the early signs of short-sightedness as most children would not talk about their problems.
"The easiest way to detect myopia is to see how the children watch television. If we ask them to sit far from the TV, they will squint their eyes or they would move to the front (of the TV)," she said.
Dr Haliza has suggested various steps for parents to reduce myopia among their children.
"When the children start to read and paint, the lighting in the house must be good. The use of gadgets must not be allowed for a long time to avoid eye 'stress'," she said.