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Why the pandemic is making your child's eyesight worse

Researchers found that myopia, or nearsightedness, has seen a sharp increase in kids during quarantine. It's another way the pandemic is impacting our children.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things; some for the better, some for worse. 

But now we're learning it could have a lasting impact on your child's eyesight. Let's connect the dots. 

Kids don't play outside as much as they used to, and it's having an unusual side effect. Their eyesight is getting worse with nearsightedness on the rise in children.

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Nearsightedness, or myopia, is when you can see close objects clearly but things that are far away are fuzzy. It can be caused by genetics and your environment. But experts now say it has increased so rapidly that genetics aren't playing as big of a role. 

In the United States alone, nearsightedness has gone from 25% of the population in the 1970s to 42% today. 

RELATED: Could hearing loss be a side effect of COVID-19?

So, what's causing this increase? Experts say it's actually because children are getting less natural light. Researchers say exposure to daylight, and focusing on things far away outside, can delay the onset of nearsightedness. 

The pandemic has only made things worse. New research shows children's eyesight rapidly deteriorated during quarantine. But there is something you can do about it. 

Experts recommend a practice called the 20-20-20 method. That's when you take regular breaks every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And of course, more time outside could make a real difference, too. 

RELATED: How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting toddlers and babies

Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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