Understand Myopia and The Risk Factors For Developing It
If your child wears prescription glasses or contact lenses to correct nearsightedness, they have a widespread condition called myopia.
What many parents may not know is that children who have myopia are actually more likely to experience eye health problems down the line, especially if they have high myopia.
Fortunately, the eye care team at Advanced Optometric Center is here to help. Read on to learn more about myopia, and what you can do to preserve your child’s long-term healthy vision.
What is Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common eye disease that affects approximately 30% of the world’s population. Myopia is characterized by the inability to clearly see objects in the distance, while objects that are close by appear sharp and clear. This condition occurs when the shape of the eyeball is too long, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it, resulting in blurred distance vision.
Myopia is progressive, which means that it usually worsens over time, especially during childhood and adolescence. This is because the eyeball grows longer along with the rest of the body. Myopia often stabilizes once a person stops growing, usually in their 20s.
One of the most concerning aspects of myopia is that its prevalence is rapidly increasing, particularly in children. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it is thought to be related to environmental and lifestyle factors.
What are the Risk Factors for Developing Myopia?
Risk factors for developing myopia include:
- Having myopic parents: There’s a 1 in 3 chance that a child will develop myopia if one parent is nearsighted, and a 1 in 2 chance if both parents are nearsighted.
- Excessive screen time and other near work: Any prolonged focus on a near object like a digital screen or book can be straining on the eyes and increase the risk of developing myopia.
- Not enough outdoor play: Although researchers aren’t sure the exact reason why, studies have shown that daily exposure to sunlight has a protective effect on children’s eyes and can delay or prevent the onset of myopia.
- Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups are more prone to developing myopia, such as people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.
Does Myopia Affect Your Eye Health?
Yes. Being nearsighted significantly increases a child’s risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases down the line, especially if they have moderate to high myopia. This is because the elongated eyeball shape puts a strain on the various structures within the eye, such as the retina, making the eye more vulnerable to damage.
High myopia, which is when a person’s prescription is greater than -6.00 diopters, is particularly dangerous for children’s eye health. High myopia increases the risk of developing serious sight-threatening complications such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. These conditions can lead to permanent vision loss and in some cases, blindness.
Fortunately, there are several options available for managing myopia, which can slow or even stop its progression.
How Can Myopia Management Help?
Myopia management treatments aim to slow or halt myopia progression in a safe and comfortable way.
After a comprehensive myopia consultation, we’ll work with you to determine which treatment option works best for your child’s eyes, lifestyle, and needs. We offer 2 main myopia management options: soft multifocal contact lenses and orthokeratology (ortho-k contact lenses).
We will also recommend healthy lifestyle habits to support your child’s eye health, like encouraging children to spend more time outdoors and limiting the amount of time spent on close-up work.
Schedule Your Child’s Myopia Consultation
If your child has myopia, now is the time to invest in their future and protect their long-term eye health.
To schedule their myopia consultation, call Advanced Eyecare Optometric Center today.