Myopia — nearsightedness — is an epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, 27% of the world’s population has myopia, and this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2050.
Myopia almost always begins in childhood and can progress rapidly until the late teens or early twenties. Children with moderate or severe myopia are at a much greater risk of developing eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even blindness.
Fortunately, there are proven ways to slow and sometimes halt myopia’s progression during childhood, to safeguard your child’s vision for a lifetime.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia is often inherited, but other risk factors include spending several hours a day indoors, engaged in ‘near work’ like reading and looking at electronic screens.
Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows longer, which causes light rays entering the eye to focus in front of your retina rather than on your retina, resulting in blurry vision.
How Myopia Can Impact Your Child
Nearsightedness can affect your child in many ways:
Difficulties at School and While Playing Sports
Sometimes parents don’t realize their child is experiencing blurry vision due to myopia until they receive a poor report card or do poorly on school tests.
Trying to focus on faraway objects when they appear blurry often results in eyestrain. Yet many parents and teachers don’t realize that a child’s headaches, tired, burning or itchy eyes, blurry vision, and neck and shoulder pain may be caused by myopia.
Challenges Playing Sports
When you try to catch a ball, aim for a target or locate a goal post, you need to see clearly at a distance. Nearsightedness can interfere with a child’s ability to succeed on a sports field.
Why Is Myopia Management Important?
Unfortunately, myopia isn’t only about difficulty seeing faraway objects. Moderate to severe myopia increases a child’s risk of developing serious eye conditions in the future. They include:
- Retinal detachment
- Myopic maculopathy
What is Myopia Management?
Myopia management is the area of optometry devoted to slowing down and even halting the progression of myopia in childhood. Myopia can be managed with a customized program that uses specialty contact lenses, multifocal lenses or atropine drops to control myopia. The sooner a child’s myopia is managed, the lower the risk of myopia-related complications in adulthood.
To find out how myopia management can transform your child’s vision, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ralph Paternoster at Park Professional Eyecare in Bronx.
Our practice serves patients from Morris Park, Allerton, Parkchester, and East Bronx, New York and surrounding communities.
- A: There is no cure for myopia, but myopia management has been scientifically proven to slow and sometimes halt myopia’s progression. LASIK and other laser surgeries aren’t an option until a child with myopia reaches adulthood and their eyes have stopped growing.
- A: High myopia is a more severe form of regular myopia, usually above -3.00 dioptres. Children who develop high myopia often have rapidly progressing myopia that begins in early childhood.