Myopia Management is vital for children’s eye health, especially with increases in screen time. But don’t worry – there are things we can do!
Children inherit myopia from their parents. Its most often diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 12 years. However, early childhood myopia is now seen between the ages of 5 and 7 years. When the body rapidly grows during the teenage years, myopia may get worse.
It’s important to understand that there is no cure for myopia. However, there are more treatments now available to slow this progression. The earlier treatment starts, the less nearsighted they become.
Myopia is most often called nearsightedness. This means that you can see close up but not far away. It is seen in individuals whose eyes are longer than normal. This impacts the focusing power of the cornea and lens. This makes the focus at a point further in front of the retina instead of right on its surface. Nearsightedness can also be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia occurs due to a combination of these factors. Myopia occurs when the eye does not bend or refract light in the correct way. Since the light doesn’t focus as it should, images appear blurry. This isn’t a disease. It is a disorder or problem with the eye’s ability to focus.
Increasing Rates of Myopia
Many countries, including the United States, are noting unprecedented rates of myopia diagnosis among children. The greatest increase is occurring in Asian countries. Today, 25% to 42% more American children have myopia compared with to 30 years ago. Researchers have identified a genetic link in families for myopia. Yet, the recent dramatic increase isn’t fully known. Some question if children’s play activities may contribute to developing myopia. Studies have looked at sun exposure and the incidence of myopia. Children exposed to less daylight developed myopia at a higher rate. Some believe that increased screen-time is the culprit.
Although in the past some people believed that under-correcting (giving less than the full
prescription) could help slow progression, more recent studies have shown that this may even increase the rate of myopia. Similarly, eye exercises have not been shown to be effective. Lately, there has been intensive research in regards to myopia management (slowing the progression of myopia), which has shown that myopia progression can be stopped or slowed. Special contact lenses or prescription eye drops can be effective at truly treating nearsightedness, particularly in children.
If your child has not had an eye exam in the last six months, he/she will need to have an exam first.
Once the exam is complete, you will schedule an appointment for a myopia management consultation. During this visit, the doctor will take additional measurements and recommend the best mode of treatment for your child’s particular vision.