More and more children nearsighted – Nieuwe Ooststellingwerver

Twenty minutes of screen time, look into the distance for twenty seconds and play outside for at least two hours a day. This is the most important advice orthoptologist Annedien Bos will give parents. ‘We also call it the 20-20-2 rule. We see more and more children with myopia in our consultation hours. This rule helps prevent and worsen myopia.’

The number of children with myopia has increased significantly in the past three to four years. Annedien: ‘These children have difficulty seeing in the distance. They are often appointed by the consultation office, the school doctor or the teacher who notices that it is getting worse and worse to read from the blackboard’.

The cause of myopia is partly hereditary. If parents are myopic, children are at greater risk. One of the main non-hereditary causes is children’s many hours of screen time. Annedien: ‘Because these children often focus too long on a nearby point, their eyes grow in length. So it’s not just about staring at the screen, even when you’re reading a book or doing crafts, you’re looking at a point nearby. Due to the growth of the eye, the focal point of the eye is in front of the retina instead of on it, making it increasingly difficult for these children to see in the distance. By looking into the distance every twenty minutes and playing outside for at least two hours a day, you can prevent a lot. The light outside produces the substance dopamine, which slows down eye growth. Besides, you’re looking away from you while you’re playing anyway.’


Children who are myopic come back every six months for a check-up. Annedien: ‘They get glasses or contact lenses, and if during a check-up we see that their eyes are deteriorating quickly, you can use drops to slow down eye growth. There are also special glasses and contact lenses that slow down growth. In consultation with the parents, we decide what is best for the child. We also always give the 20-20-2 rule. With that rule, you can also inhibit eye growth. The parents understand this well, but also honestly admit that it is sometimes difficult to get their child away from the screen.’

Myopia itself can now be solved with glasses. Annedien: ‘It gives children the opportunity to see well again. We are especially concerned about the future. Those who are very nearsighted are at a higher risk of complications later in life. Visual impairment or, in the worst case, even blindness. We would like to prevent that’.

Drop glasses give the eye patient more freedom

Patients undergoing cataract surgery must have eye drops for weeks. The group that could not do this themselves received help from the home care three times a day. This limited the patients’ freedom and was a burden on the (scarce) staff in home care. Thanks to the so-called drop glasses, most cataract patients can now easily and safely administer the drops themselves.

‘The eyedroppers have added value for everyone,’ says Gery Laarman, head of the ophthalmology clinic in Isala. It is a simple but effective tool. The two glasses each contain three holes into which different bottles of eye drops can be clicked. The patient then tilts his head back until the dosing bottle is exactly over the eye.’ ‘With one hand the patient holds the eye open, with the other hand he/she squeezes the dosing bottle’, explains Zwolle pharmacist Emiel van der Pijl.


This method offers many advantages. “Firstly, the patient does not have to wait for home care three times a day. The droppers give them much more room to move,’ explains Nicolette Schouten, nursing consultant for appropriate care at Icare Verpleging en Verzorging. Furthermore, the drop glasses lead to a quality impulse. ‘Research shows that drips with glasses are more effective than without.’ In addition, this tool gives home care workers more freedom. ‘We can now spend the time we save on this on other customers,’ says Nicolette.


The introduction of the drop glasses in the Zwolle region is the result of good chain care. ‘Isala, the district nurse and the public pharmacists (who give instructions on how to use the droppers) have teamed up. ‘This unique collaboration is a good example of appropriate care, or the right care in the right place,’ stresses Nicolette. ‘As a result, our customers get the care they need.’

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