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August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month, local health experts weigh in

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- An eye-related injury can happen at any time.

But with an increase in screen time and virtual learning this upcoming school year, it can have a harmful effect on young eyes.

Dr. Dustin Wasylik an Ophthalmologist for Aspirus says vision is our primary sense.

Recently there has been a rise in Myopia cases and now officials warn there are genetic and environmental factors that contribute, the coronavirus pandemic could one.

"It is on the rise there's a higher prevalence especially now that we're children are more so looking at things closer up, the eye does adapt and that could be linked to higher ends of myopia," said Wasylik.

Meaning the increased amount of screen time could be increasing the number of nearsightedness in kids.

It's estimated right now about 1/3 of kids in the US have some form of myopia.

One way you can tell if your child is having this issue, Dr. Jill Dillon an Optometrist for Marshfield Clinic Health System says, "if a teacher is telling a parent that they are noticing the child is squinting or wanting to move closer to the board that certainly is a sign that they may indeed have Myopia." She went on to say, "oftentimes eye diseases and things like Myopia do not necessarily have symptoms."

If eye diseases go untreated they could lead to vision loss.

While there's no simple solution, there are things parents can do to help including frequent breaks from screens.

"Every 20 minutes if you take at least a 20-second break and you look at something at least 20 feet away that will help relax your focusing system," said Dillon.

If you're a parent and have more questions or if you just want more information, click here.

Amanda Lojewski

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