Nearsightedness (Myopia) In Children

Have you noticed your child is squinting, complaining of headaches, eye fatigue, frequently rubbing their eyes or even lagging behind in class? Your child could be suffering from childhood myopia and this is for you.

Most people know that wearing glasses or contacts can correct vision problems like nearsightedness (myopia), but did you know that myopia is becoming more and more common in children? This blog post will take a closer look at myopia and what can be done to prevent it. We'll also discuss the different types of corrective lenses available for children and how to choose the right one. So, if you have a nearsighted child, read for more information.


What is Myopia?

Short-sightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error of the eye where light focuses in front of, rather than directly on, the retina. This causes distant objects to appear blurry while close objects are seen more clearly. Myopia usually develops in childhood and progresses slowly until youth, when it stabilizes. However, in some cases, myopia may continue to progress into adulthood.


There are two main types of myopia – simple myopia and pathological myopia. Simple myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too long or the cornea becomes too curved. In contrast, pathological myopia is caused by changes in the structure of the eyeball.


Factors that contribute to myopia

Several factors may contribute to myopia, including genetics, environment, and near work. Genetics plays a role in myopia, as it often runs in families. Environmental factors, such as extended periods spent indoors or watching electronic screens, may also contribute to its development. In addition, near work—such as reading or using a computer—may put additional strain on the eyes and lead to myopia.


Signs and symptoms of myopia

The most common symptom of myopia is difficulty seeing distant objects. Other symptoms may include squinting, headaches, and eye fatigue. Suppose you suspect that you or your child may suffer from myopia. In that case, seeing an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam is essential.


Myopia typically develops in childhood and progresses throughout adolescence. While glasses or contact lenses can help to correct the problem, myopia also increases your risk of developing other eye conditions later in life, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Therefore, it is essential to have your eyes checked regularly by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, even if you don't currently require vision correction. However, most optical canters do not have the necessary equipment or skills to check young children’s vision. Early detection and treatment of myopia can help to reduce your risk of developing these serious eye diseases.


Treatment options

Several treatment options for myopia are available, including glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. Glasses or contact lenses are the most common form of myopia correction. They work by bending the light that enters the eye to compensate for the eyeball's shape. Refractive surgery is another option for correcting myopia. This surgery involves permanently changing the eyeball's shape, so light properly focuses on the retina. Myopia can also be treated with special contact lenses or glasses that slowly reshape the eyeball over time. If you have myopia, talk to your doctor about which treatment option is right for you.

While the exact cause of myopia is still unknown, several factors are thought to contribute to its progression. One of the most important things you can do to reduce myopia progression is to ensure you wear the correct eyeglass prescription. If your eyeglasses or contact lenses are not providing adequate correction, this can increase myopic vision. Additionally, it is essential to limit your exposure to bright screens and outdoor sunlight. Excessive screen time has been linked to an increased risk of myopia. Spending too much time in bright sunlight can damage your retina over time. Finally, regular eye examinations are essential for detecting early signs of myopia and preventing its progression. Following these simple tips can help keep your vision healthy and clear.


Progression and screening

Early detection and management of myopia are critical to preventing its progression and associated risks. Screening for myopia should be conducted regularly, starting at three years of age. A yearly assessment is recommended for school-aged children. Children at risk for myopia (e.g., those with a family history of the condition) should be screened more frequently. If myopia is detected, a comprehensive eye examination should be conducted to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. The goal of treatment is to slow the condition's progression and reduce the risk of associated complications. Regular monitoring is essential to ensure that the treatment plan is effective.

References


Baird PN, Saw S-M, Lanca C, Guggenheim JA, Smith III EL, Zhou X, et al. Myopia. Nature Reviews Disease Primers [Internet]. 2020 Dec [cited 2022 Jul 24];6(1). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33328468/


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