What is myopia?
Also know as ‘short-sightedness’ or ‘nearsightedness’ – myopia is an eye condition that makes distance vision blurry. It usually starts in childhood when the eyeball grows too long and progressively gets worse as the eye continues to grow.
Myopia currently affects around 80 million children worldwide and is projected to increase to nearly half the world’s population by 2050. The average age of onset is progressively getting younger. In 1983 it was 11 years old, whereas in 2000 it was 8 years old.
Signs your child may be myopic
Early detection and treatment of myopia can slow it’s progression and reduce the risk of further eye problems in the future. Some signs in children can include:
- Blurred distance vision
- Moving closer to the TV
- Reduced performance at school and/or difficulty seeing the board in classroom
- Complaints of headaches
- Tired eyes
- Squinting eyes to focus
- In some cases there are no signs at all
What causes myopia?
It comes down to two main contributing factors – genetics and lifestyle.
The risk in children increases when parents are myopic.
- 50% – when both parents are myopic
- 33% – when one parent is myopic
- 25% – when neither parent is myopic
Modern lifestyles may influence the development of myopia. These include:
- prolonged near task such as reading or smartphone use
- low levels of outdoor activity
- poor lighting levels
How is myopia managed?
Treating myopia early can slow its progression and therefore reduce the potential risk of developing future eye health issues. That is a reason why it is so improtant to have children’s eyes examined regularly.
Our general recommendations are:
- Discourage excessive use of devices.
- Encourage time outdoors – at least 90 minutes a day is recommended to reduce the risk of developing myopia. Possible reasons for this include improved light levels, vitamin D and more distance-vision use while outside.
- Regular glasses and contact lenses – will allow your child to see clearly and will need updating frequently as, unfortunately, they have little to no effect on slowing down the rate of myopia progression.
- Contact lenses – special myopia management contact lenses are available to allow children to see clearly while slowing down myopia progression by half.
If you think your child may be myopic, talk to us about options proven to slow the rate of progression of myopia in children. Call us on 075578-4611 or you can book online!