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Does small text really increase the chances of developing near-sightedness?

2019/03/06
Does small text really increase the chances of developing near-sightedness?

Negligence in daily routines can cause children’s vision to gradually deteriorate. Almost imperceptibly, they can have troubles with blurry vision in both eyes, and will have to rely on glasses even during childhood. Besides wearing glasses, those who become near-sighted early in childhood have a higher chance to develop advanced myopia if they do not take proper care of their eyes when growing up. In serious cases, they can even develop age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

What is it that really affects eyesight?

It is recommended that vision care should start during early childhood. Poor vision can lead to certain learning problems. According to research, incorrect sitting positions, the distance between the book and the eyes during reading, reading time and text size in extracurricular reading materials are all related to myopia. In the research, subjects at risk of developing myopia shared similar habits while reading. The distance between the book and the eyes was shorter than 20 cm, they spent more than 3 hours reading after school, and they read continuously for hour-long periods. Carrying out these types of continuous eye-reliant activities for prolonged periods of time fatigues the eyes. If the text size of extracurricular reading materials was enlarged, as suggested in the study, the risk of myopia could be effectively reduced. 

Does Small Text Actually Affect Eyesight?

When you closely focus on a particular text for a long time, your ciliary muscle contracts and spasms. Muscles around the eyes become congested and stiff, making the eyes unable to adjust properly. The ciliary muscle needs to exert effort for the eye to see words clearly, which slowly increases strain on the eyes. Once the eyes are fatigued, we unwittingly shorten the distance between the eyes and the book, causing a change in the reading position. The likelihood of myopia is thus increased. As previously explained, the degree of contractions of the ciliary muscle have much to do with distance, but not so much with text size. The farther the object is, the less tense the eyes are. This means that a larger text size cannot necessarily prevent myopia.

 

That is, myopia is not caused by small text sizes, but because of the shorter distance needed for children to see those tiny words clearly. Additionally, regardless of text size, as long as the eyes are closely focused for 20 minutes in activities such as reading, playing the piano, or watching TV, they need to relax properly. It’s best to take a break every half an hour when reading or doing homework for extended periods of time. Alternately, looking at objects near and far will relax the ciliary muscle. Blinking a few times helps relieve dry eyes.

 

Children nowadays have easy access to smartphones. When using a smartphone, the eyes are closer to the screen than when reading a book. Vision can also deteriorate in such cases as proper distance is not maintained. As stated in the previous paragraph, as long as you follow the principle of “5-minute breaks after every 30 minutes of reading/watching”, your eyesight will be easily protected!

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