Myopia or nearsightedness affects nearly 30 percent of the population in the United States. It’s a common type of refractive error that occurs if a person’s eyeball is too long or if the cornea is too curved. This results in close objects appearing clear, but distant ones look blurred. Many parents think of childhood myopia as a simple vision problem. They don’t realize that it can actually harm their kid’s eyes and vision, especially as they grow.
Myopia generally gets worse as your child ages. After reaching about 20 years old, its progression often slows down. The condition becomes stable as they grow older. Although the exact cause of this refractive error is unknown, some common factors can worsen the condition:
Genetics. Like many conditions, hereditary factors play a role in myopia progression. This is particularly true if the parents of the myopic child are also nearsighted.
Reduced Time Spent Outdoors. Some studies suggest that spending little to no time at all in outdoor activities can worsen myopia. The findings explored its link to the eye’s ciliary muscle, which controls the pupil and lens’ movements.
Inadequate Exposure to Violet Light (VL). Other research shows that VL can suppress myopia progression in people not older than 20 years old. An article published in the National Library of Medicine suggests that VL can be a preventive strategy against myopia progression.
Constant Wearing of Eyeglasses. If your kid has low myopia, they should not wear their corrective eyeglasses for near vision tasks. Instead, they should only use their glasses for distance vision. Children with moderate to high myopia may wear their glasses for both close and distance vision.
Use of Overcorrected Eyeglasses. If your child’s myopia can be corrected with a -2.0 diopter, it’s best to use under corrected optical power, such as -1.75 or -1.50 diopter. Opting for the exact -2.0 diopter or higher may only worsen your kid’s refractive error in the long run.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, childhood myopia is skyrocketing. Today, about 40 percent of kids are nearsighted. Thirty years ago, only 20 percent of children in the U.S. dealt with this vision problem.
Sadly, kids diagnosed with myopia are at an increased risk of developing different sight-threatening conditions later in life. These include cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. Children who suffer from rapidly worsening myopia are more at risk of developing these eye diseases. Slowing the progression of myopia early on can make all the difference to your kid’s eye health. Don’t wait for their refractive error to get worse before you seek treatment.
You cannot change age and hereditary factors. But there are steps you can take to keep myopia from progressing as your child ages. These include reducing the duration of all activities that require near work. If it can’t be avoided, ensure that your child takes frequent breaks in between. Also, encourage your myopic child to spend more time outdoors, especially in the daylight. Equally important is visiting your eye doctor for a regular eye examination.
Do you want to learn more about myopia control and management? Visit Atlanta Eye Group today to book an appointment. We have multiple offices in Atlanta and one in Kennesaw, Georgia. Call us now at (770) 727-0772 for prevention tips and ideas.