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Latest figures have revealed that a million teenagers in the UK are short-sighted – with the threat of a national ‘eye health epidemic’ looming large.

Nationally, one in five teenagers are short-sighted – double the number affected 50 years ago. Experts have warned this figure is likely to grow significantly in the next 30 years, serving as a ‘ticking timebomb’ to the nation’s eye health.

Short-sightedness, also known as myopia, can lead to an increased risk of several eye conditions such as myopic maculopathy that could eventually result in visual impairment or even blindness.

We need to act now to help future generations.

Children as young as three or four can be affected, and their chances of being short-sighted are significantly increased if either parent has myopia. If we can spot the signs early we can help prevent more serious issues further down the line.

We’ve identified three things you can do NOW to help your child’s sight stay stronger, for longer.

1. Put the devices down

Data shows that increases in myopia are mainly lifestyle driven. Young people spend a lot of time on near tasks such as reading and writing and electronic devices such as iPads, phones and games consoles. Strike the right balance and limit use of screens where you can.

2. Outdoor play

Children spend a lot of time couped up in classrooms and sitting indoors. It’s important they don’t miss out on Vitamin D which may play a potential role in eye growth. Myopia progression may be caused by light levels old-fashioned outdoor play could be the answer. Early studies are showing that increased time outside could slow the onset of myopia by up to 34 per cent.

3. Ask us about myopia management

TK&S is pioneering the use of revolutionary contact lenses proven to halt the progression of short-sightedness as part of a ground-breaking programme which has seen our practice become a national centre of excellence for myopia management.

We offer specialist myopia lenses from a range of manufacturers including CooperVision’s MiSight, VTI’s NaturalVue and Mylo from Mark’ennovy, which we use alongside a suite of other state-of-the-art methods such as ortho-keratology to manage myopia in both children and adults. We can also produce a myopia management lens to match any prescription using a Relax lens manufactured by SwissLens.

Research has revealed an increase in the number of children growing up in urban areas who develop short-sightedness. While glasses and soft contact lenses can correct the condition, until now, they have been unable to slow its rate of progression.

Wearers of these lenses can expect to cut myopic progression, providing better vision when not wearing contact lenses and reducing their chances of developing high levels of myopia which may lower the incidence of eye diseases associated with shortsightedness, such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.

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