Myopia or nearsightedness can significantly impact a child’s life. It is a common eye problem that can affect people of all ages. Eyeglasses or contact lenses are usually necessary to correct it.
Read on to learn more about myopia and what typically causes it to get worse.
Myopia: Risk Factors and Symptoms
You can have myopia, regardless of your age. It occurs when light entering the eyes does not focus on the retina properly. If you are nearsighted, it could be hard to see distant objects. While usually inherited, environmental factors may contribute to myopia’s development and progression.
You are more likely to have myopia if both your parents have it. Spending too long doing close-up tasks, such as reading, can make you more prone to this eye condition. Several studies have shown that young individuals who spend a significant amount of time in front of digital screens have a higher risk of myopia. Research also shows that children who spend less time outdoors are more likely to be nearsighted.
Spotting myopia could be a challenge because it has no apparent signs. The most common symptom of this condition is difficulty seeing far objects. Headaches and eye strain after reading are also common indications of myopia. See your eye doctor immediately if your child keeps squinting or blinking.
Reasons Myopia Worsens in Children
Genetics plays a significant role in myopia development. If you or your child’s other biological parent is nearsighted, there is a higher chance they will have the eye condition. Be on the look for signs of myopia and see a specialist if you believe your little one has difficulty seeing.
Spending too much time looking at nearby objects, reading in low light and not taking breaks from digital screens are associated with myopia progression. Be sure your child takes time off screens. It also helps to encourage them to play outdoors.
Lack of Vision Care
Regularly seeing your optometrist for an eye examination is one way to guarantee myopia does not go unnoticed. Have your child visit an eye doctor once every two years. Doing so helps in the early detection and treatment of nearsightedness. It keeps you track of vision changes and ensures your little one has the proper prescription eyewear.
What Can You Do About It?
Visit Your Optometrist
Seek advice from an eye specialist if you believe your child’s myopia is worsening. A comprehensive eye assessment will reveal the cause of the progression. It will allow your doctor to develop a treatment plan that suits your child’s needs.
Your optician will usually recommend wearing eyeglasses if you or your child has myopia. Contact lenses are another option for nearsighted individuals. Both eyewear can help slow the progression of myopia.
Atropine Eye Drops
Atropine eye drops are a type of medication used to treat myopia. They work by temporarily paralyzing the focusing muscles in the eye. The drops allow the muscles to relax, resulting in improved vision.
Refractive Error Assessment
A refractive error assessment is essential to myopia management. It involves measuring how light focuses through the eye and adjusting glasses or contact lenses accordingly. The test should be a part of regular eye exams to ensure your child has an updated lens prescription.
Orthokeratology is a non-surgical method of treating myopia. Patients would have to wear special contact lenses overnight that gradually reshapes the cornea to improve vision. With ortho-K lenses, wearers get to see clearly during the day.
Scleral lenses are not like your standard contact lenses. They fit over the rest of the eye’s surface. These lenses can help reduce myopia-associated vision symptoms. Your optometrist can determine if this option is ideal for your child after a comprehensive eye exam.
Corneal Reshaping Technology (CRT)
Corneal reshaping technology (CRT) is a type of contact lens therapy designed to reshape the cornea’s curvature. It can help reduce blurred vision caused by myopia and slow its progression.
Other Eye Conditions That Affect Children
Lazy eye or amblyopia happens if a person’s eyes don’t have equal strength and normal visual acuity. It can be challenging to diagnose since children are often unaware of the condition. If your child has issues with reading, participating in physical activities or doing math, there is a chance they have amblyopia. Other common signs of this eye condition include constant squinting, closing one eye, eye rubbing and head tilting.
When the eyes are crossed or misaligned, strabismus could occur. When not treated immediately, amblyopia and irreversible vision loss could occur. A child with this eye condition usually squints a lot when exposed to bright light. They also tend to tilt their heads to align their eyes.
Binocular Vision Dysfunction
A misalignment between the eyes causes binocular dysfunction (BVD). Patients often experience dizziness, fatigue, headaches, double vision and light sensitivity. Moreover, anxiety and motion sickness are also common in people with BVD.
Nystagmus can be present at birth or develop as a person ages. It causes unconscious back-and-forth eye movements in patients. You’ll notice congenital nystagmus in your child’s first months. Meanwhile, acquired nystagmus occurs in children six months or older.
It’s a common misconception that only adults can get cataracts. Thousands of children worldwide are born with this eye condition. The effects of cataracts on one’s vision depend on their location and intensity.
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