- What is myopia?
- What causes myopia?
- What is progressive myopia?
- How can I tell if my child has progressive myopia?
- Can myopia be prevented?
- How is progressive myopia managed?
What is myopia?
Myopia (or near-sightedness) occurs when the eye grows too long and focuses images in front of the retina, instead of on it. This results in blurry distance vision.
What causes myopia?
We are not 100% sure why some children become myopic and others don't. We do know there's a genetic component. Parents with myopia are likely to have children who are also myopic.
Other causes may be:
- Lack of exposure to daylight.
- Excessive up-close work, like reading or looking at a phone or tablet.
What is progressive myopia?
Optometrists used to see myopia in patients at about age 12 but we are now seeing it in children as young as six. Normally, myopia gradually progresses until the child stops growing around age 18 to 21.
In some children, the eyes grow much faster than average. This is called progressive myopia. Left untreated, progressive myopia may increase the risk of conditions like glaucoma or retinal detachment.
How can I tell if my child has progressive myopia?
Many children don't complain about their symptoms. The best way to monitor your child's vision is to see your optometrist for regular eye examinations. Children should be tested at 6 months of age, before starting school and annually after that.
Can myopia be prevented?
We can't prevent myopia from progressing, but we can try to slow it down. While your child's eyeglasses prescription may still continue to change, it will change at a slower rate. This means they will have a lower risk of developing eye conditions as a result of higher levels of myopia.
How is progressive myopia managed?
Specially designed contact lenses and eye drops can be used to slow the progression of myopia.