The drastic increase in the number of children diagnosed with myopia during the past decade is astonishing — but is it surprising? Not really. When you analyze the causes of myopia, it becomes clear why more and more children are becoming affected by this progressive eye disease.
Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye disease in which the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina’s surface. Essentially, your child’s eye is growing too long.
Because the eye elongates and grows with the rest of the body, naturally, it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts — suddenly requiring a higher prescription due to an increase in their myopia.
The hallmark symptom of myopia is blurred distance vision, but it can also cause headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty seeing at night.
What Causes Myopia?
Several factors lead a child to develop myopia, including genetic, environmental, and even socioeconomic status.
A child is more likely to be myopic if one of their parents is nearsighted or myopic as well. If both parents are myopic, those chances increase even greater. Be sure to get your child’s vision checked if you or your spouse are myopic.
Excessive ‘Near Work’
More than ever before, kids all over the world are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day, whether reading a book, using a smartphone, computer, tablet or another device.
Numerous studies have shown that doing near work, especially in excess (more than 3 hours per day), contributes to the onset and progression of myopia.
Some findings suggest that the intensity and duration of near work are also important factors. For example, reading a captivating novel for 45 minutes straight will impact a child’s eyes more than skimming a magazine a few minutes at a time.
Not Enough Outdoor Time
Spending at least two to three hours outdoors has been shown to delay or prevent the onset of myopia in children. Make sure to send your children outside to play every day, especially if they’re at risk of developing myopia!
Other Risk Factors Associated with Myopia
● Height — taller children and adolescents have a higher incidence of myopia than their shorter counterparts
● Education level — There is a higher incidence of myopia in people with advanced degrees, as well as higher parental education levels.
● Ethnicity — Individuals from Asian/Pacific Islander communities are more at risk of developing myopia.
If Your Child Has Myopia, We Can Help!
What many don’t realize is that myopia can seriously affect a child's future eye health and vision. Having myopia in childhood significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, and macular degeneration in adulthood.
The good news is that myopia can be effectively managed to reduce the risk of future eye disease. At Treehouse Eyes, we offer the latest and most effective myopia management treatments to limit the progression of myopia so that your child can live his or her best life.
Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact VisionQuest Eyecare today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!