Myopia (or nearsightedness) is very common. One out of two people (50%) have it. With myopia, the eye is longer than normal from front to back, or the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) is too steeply curved. This makes things that are far away from you look blurry. Studies show myopia is becoming more common among children.
Now, doctors have ways to slow the progression of myopia in children. While myopia cannot be reversed, the goal of treatment is to keep it from getting worse. This can protect a child’s eye health in the future since having myopia can significantly increase the risk of developing eye problems later, like cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment. The higher your child’s myopia, the greater the risk.
Our office is equipped with special contact lenses that are typically worn by children 6-12 years of age with myopia. This “multifocal” contact lens has different areas of focus. Blurring side vision is thought to slow eye growth and limit myopia. These lenses seem to help certain children, including those whose parents are nearsighted and whose own myopia is getting worse.
Another option for slowing the progression of myopia are low-dose medicated eye drops. When given to children in small amounts for 2 to 3 years, the drops may keep the eye from lengthening too much. Myopia worsens as the eye grows longer. The drops are placed in the eye each night at bedtime. Side effects of these drops at low doses may include redness or itchiness around the eye.
Overall, make sure your child spends more time outdoors. Limit screen time on computers or other digital devices. By balancing screen time with outdoor time, you may help limit your child’s myopia and protect their vision as they grow older.
If you are concerned about your child’s myopia, call us today. Dr. A is certified in myopia management and can help you understand more about your child’s nearsightedness. She will determine whether your child is a candidate for myopia management and which option is best for your child.