Myopia (nearsightedness) is a vision condition where things at a distance appear blurred.
Traditionally glasses or contact lenses are required to provide clear distance vision. Refractive surgery is an option for some adults.
Myopia typically develops during a child’s growing years. As a child grows, the eye grows. If the eye grows too long in size, the lens cannot focus objects onto the back of the eye properly. Blurred vision is the result.
What are the risk factors for myopia development?
Family history of myopia: Having 1 parent who is nearsighted increases the risk 2x compared to a child with neither parent being nearsighted. A child who has 2 parents who are nearsighted is 5x more like ly to develop myopia.
More outdoor play in the preschool years may protect against nearsightedness.
Myopia progression is also associated with near work.
Research is ongoing into the impact of screen time and other near tasks.
Children of East Asian descent are at higher risk of developing myopia.
The proportion of the population developing myopia is growing.
Predictions are that by the year 2050, 50% of the global population will be myopic.
Why is this a concern?
Myopia not only requires vision correction to perform activities of daily life.
It also increases the risk of eye health problems and vision loss later in life.
The more nearsighted a person becomes, the higher the risk of developing:
- Retinal detachment
- Myopic maculopathy (a form of macular degeneration)
- Early onset cataracts
Myopia management is a growing field where we are now able to slow myopia progression in children.
The current options are:
- Special design lenses for glasses
- Special design contact lenses
- Use of low dose atropine drops
As part of your child’s vision assessment, we will evaluate their risk of myopia development. If myopia starts, we will discuss with you the options to consider moving forward.
One of the many reasons it is important to have your child’s vision checked regularly.