During a children’s eye exam, one of the main vision problems our optometrists look for is myopia. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common refractive error that affects nearly 30% of Americans. While we love any excuse to showcase our favorite glasses, risks associated with high myopia combined with an increase in children with myopia have encouraged ongoing research into controlling myopia progression. There’s currently no cure for myopia, but there are several control methods that are shown to effectively slow myopia, especially in children.
Myopia is an error in the way light refracts when it enters your eye. To process clear images, light needs to land on the retina. In an eye with myopia, light lands in front of the retina instead, causing distant objects to appear blurry and out of focus.
Blurred vision occurs because the eye’s shape prevents light from bending correctly: the eye is either too long, or the cornea is too steep. The exact cause of myopia isn’t known, but theories suggest it’s likely caused by a complex combination of genetics, increased close work (like computer work or reading), and reduced time outdoors.
Children who develop myopia around age 6 to 8 have a higher chance of developing high myopia because their eyes have more time to grow. Children who develop myopia around age 12 or onwards have a lesser risk for high myopia, because their eye growth is already slowing down.
These risks make it all the more important to slow the progression of myopia, especially in younger children.
Fortunately, studies show there are several effective methods of controlling myopia while the eyes are still growing.
Some of the most effective methods of myopia control include:
Some studies also suggest that increasing the time your child spends outside is enough to slow myopia. Students who spend more than 200 minutes a week outdoors were found to have less shifting towards myopia.
Myopia isn’t without its risks, but ongoing research is discovering more and more effective methods of slowing its progression. At Total Vision in Rancho Bernardo, our eye care team is committed to improving your child’s life through an extraordinary standard of care. If you would like to learn more about myopia control methods for your child, please call us soon to book a children’s eye exam!
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