SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way many of us operate including young children. According to Dr. James Lusk, worldwide studies are showing children are now three times more likely to develop myopia than five trends five years ago. Myopia means nearsightedness.

“Myopia occurs when the eye elongates from too much work and it gets longer and longer. This process eventually stretches the retina,” said Lusk.

Dr. Lusk sees the increasing amount of screen time for school and play as the number one variable for high myopia cases. However, myopia can lead to long-term health problems if not checked. “Retinal detachment, macular disease, and macular degeneration are all possible,” said Lusk.

The good news is there are ways to prevent these diseases like corrected lenses, LASIK surgery, and atropine drops. However, if one of the diseases like macular degeneration happens then it can’t be fixed!

In addition, myopia can be slowed down if kids just get outside and play for at least two hours. “Being outside for at least two hours, myopia will decrease by 50%. The rate of progression decreases substantially and some patients won’t ever get it.