What Does the Future Look Like for Kids with Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is an extremely common eye condition in children and adults. Unfortunately, the incidence of myopia is increasing significantly in children, posing a threat to their future health and well-being. Parents need to do everything they can to help their kids and protect their eyesight, which begins with knowledge.
Why is myopia in kids on the rise?
In recent years, studies have suggested a few different possible reasons for the increase in myopia in children. For example:
- Increasing academic rigor. Kids who attend academically selective schools or who spend more time studying than the average student tend to be more likely to develop myopia due to an increased amount of close-up work.
- More frequent use of technology. Today, children interact with technology far more than they did in past decades. Computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets could play a role in the increase in myopia.
- Less time spent outdoors. Access to technology and concerns over safety have reduced the amount of time that kids spend outdoors, potentially contributing to more vision problems.
Spending time outside exposes kids to better lighting conditions and allows their eyes to focus at distance, so it’s easy to see why the above factors could affect eyesight.
Related Resources: Ways to Control Myopia Progression in Children
Why is myopia such a serious concern?
Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a common type of refractive error where close objects appear clearly, but distant objects appear blurry.
As children grow, all the parts of their bodies grow and change – including their eyes. Myopia develops in eye that focus images in front of the retina instead of on the retina, which results in blurred vision. This occurs when the eyeball becomes too long and prevents incoming light from focusing directly on the retina. It may also be caused by an abnormal shape of the cornea or lens.
Progressive myopia presents certain risks for kids as they get older. The biggest threat is the quality of their future ocular health and vision. Glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment are some of the specific risks that kids with myopia may face as they age. While these diseases are usually associated with older adults, higher myopia significantly increases the risk of these conditions.
What can parents do?
The good news is that, as a parent, there are many things that you can do to reduce or even eliminate the risks of myopia for your child. A few of the most important steps that you can take include:
- Schedule regular eye exams for your child. Even if you haven’t noticed any signs of impaired vision in your child, your child must see an eye doctor every year at a minimum. That’s because eye-care professionals can often detect signs of problems before either the parent or the child becomes aware of them.
- Limit or monitor the use of technology. We recommend limiting the amount of time that kids spend using screens for recreational purposes, including the frequency with which they use them and the length of time.
- Learn about your medical options. Talk with your child’s eye doctor about their options for treatment. There are many approaches to myopia that can help slow its progression in kids. Orthokeratology, low-dose atropine eye drops, distance center multifocal soft contact lenses, and special eyeglasses are a few of the treatments we can provide.
Related Resources: Treatments for Myopia in Childhood and How to Protect Your Child
If your child has been diagnosed with myopia, it’s imperative to follow their eye doctor’s advice consistently. What you do now can have a significant impact on your child’s future vision. If you are in the Miami area and would like to book an appointment for your child, yourself, or another family member, you can contact us here.