Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, means that you can see well up close but not at a distance. This happens when your eye is more extended than the average eye or when your cornea has an excessive curve pattern, which can inhibit your light absorption.
There are many fields of thought on what causes myopia. For some people, it can be due to overexerting near vision through activities, such as reading, without taking proper breaks. Other evidence suggests that family members can pass myopia onto their children.
How common is myopia in children, and what should you expect if your child has it? Let’s discuss.
Facts About Myopia in Children
- Myopia is most common for kids in school, with approximately 75 percent of children finding out they have it between ages 3 and 12. The symptoms often continue until age 20 or longer if untreated.
- Not getting the proper vision correction for myopia can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and more.
- Children (and adults) have a higher chance of becoming nearsighted if they spend too much time reading or on digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, without resting their eyes. (We encourage everyone to implement the 20-20-20 rule.)
- Before a child is diagnosed with myopia, you may notice them squinting while doing close-up activities, such as watching a TV show, or holding books near their eyes. Nearsightedness can also impact how your child does in school.
How to Prevent Myopia From Worsening
The best way to slow myopia symptoms is to schedule a regular comprehensive eye exam for your child. At this appointment, one of our Independent Doctors of Optometry will ask your child to call out letters, numbers, or shapes on an eye chart (depending on their age). This can help determine if your little one has a refractive error, such as myopia, and show how their vision has developed since their last eye appointment.
At the end of your child’s eye exam, the eye doctor may set your child up with new glasses or contact lenses for myopia. Corrective eyewear may not fix nearsightedness, but it can adjust how the eyes process images. Multifocal contact lenses are one of the top options for myopia in children.
We also recommend putting limits on how often your children use small screens. Computer vision syndrome symptoms can happen in children, just as they do in adults, and starting healthy screen habits right away is essential.
Another thing you can do is ensure your child gets adequate time outside. Spending enough time in the sunshine has been shown to decrease your child’s chances of getting myopia altogether.
Summary: Kids and Nearsightedness
Myopia is a refractive error that affects how the eyes take in light. It makes it simple for your child to see things close to their face, but it can make distant objects appear blurry. Most children who get myopia are in school, between ages 3 and 12.
Without getting treatment for myopia, your child has a higher chance of developing serious eye problems when they’re older, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. If you’re noticing symptoms of myopia in your 6-year-old and want to prevent the condition from worsening, we suggest bringing your child in for an eye exam as soon as possible.
You might also have your child increase their outdoor playtime in the sunshine to give their eyes a much-needed break from handheld devices, computers, and reading. Want more tips for myopia in children? Our optical team is here for you anytime.
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