We Treat Myopia in Children

All Posts

Myopia, so known as near-sightedness, is one of the most prevalent vision conditions plaguing the world today.

One of the biggest risk factors associated with myopia is prolonged near work. Our world has become exceedingly digitised, and children’s vision and eye health has been negatively affected as a result.

As their vision is still developing, it’s no surprise that our young ones are the most vulnerable to myopia. They also tend to show regular progression or worsening of their vision over time.

Fortunately, there are ways that parents and optometrists can help. By diagnosing, treating, and slowing down myopia which is fast becoming a global epidemic.

There are new technologies available today to slow the progression of myopia. We consider all relevant factors before we decide which option is most suitable for your child when successfully managing their myopia.

What is Myopia?

Myopia, or shortsightedness, is a common optical condition that is associated with blurred vision. A child with myopia is able to see  objects and words clearly up close.  However, from a certain distance, these visuals become less clear. This consists of distant objects and words on a blackboard, for example, appearing as fuzzy and out of focus.

Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeballs grow too quickly during childhood and is known to be a genetic condition. The process of light entering the natural lens of the eye is disrupted by the incorrect refraction of the light rays. This is why, medically, myopia is classified as a refractive error.

Myopia has doubled in prevalence in school aged children over the past decade. The condition tends to worsen during childhood and adolescence but it is also known to develop during adulthood. More severe cases of nearsightedness in children are associated with higher eye disease risk as they grow older.

Why should I be concerned if my child is afflicted?

As mentioned, myopia is becoming an increasingly widespread condition. Its estimated to currently affect about 32% of the population, with most of these cases developing during childhood.

In addition to this, the average age during which nearsightedness is most likely to develop is reducing. This means that the younger the child is when the onset begins, the faster the eye growth they’re likely to have. If left unchecked, the progression of this condition can negatively impact their eye focus in general.

Shortsightedness can also increase their risks of other vision problems and side effects such as:

  • Retinal detachment – a condition in which the light sensitive film at the back of the eye pulls away from its base. This can lead to distorted vision and blindness.
  • Myopic macular degeneration – a severe form of degenerative myopia, this causes a loss of central vision clarity.
  • Glaucoma – increased pressure in the eye which damages peripheral vision. Its symptoms usually go unnoticed until it has reached an advanced stage of progression.
  • Cataracts – cloudy windows, or spots, in the middle of the eye. This causes vision to become foggy.

What causes Myopia?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the development of nearsightedness. Several of these aspects may be controlled and include:

  • Time spent on close up work – studies have shown that engaging in certain activities for long periods of time may aid in myopic progression. These activities include; reading, playing video games, drawing and using technology like tablets or smartphones.
  • Handheld devices – are easily accessible to toddlers, which results in increased exposure to close work at a younger age.
  • Genetics – studies show that myopia can be hereditary and may be dependent on the family’s background and ethnicity.
  • Lack of proper correction – this condition has been shown to progress quicker when a child’s myopia is left untreated.

girl with glasses reading a book

How can I prevent or slow down my child’s Myopia?

There are a number of ways to help slow down your child’s progression of myopia. The first step is to always take your child to an eye doctor, or optometrist.  A basic eye exam will then be taken to observe what stage of progression your child is currently in. From this point, there are various treatment options:

  • Atropine eye drops – these have been shown to slow down the development of nearsightedness.
  • Specialty contact lenses – glasses or contacts are a general treatment for most refractive errors. However, research has shown that specially designed lenses are more effective when slowing the advancement of myopia.
  • Refractive surgery – this is only recommended for children over the age of 14. Although it is a relatively safe procedure, most optometrists would suggest trying other corrective methods before attempting any eye surgery.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy – another correction procedure only recommended for older children. This has proven to be one of the most effective surgeries in the treatment of myopia to date.

Our leading eye specialist, Dr Dylan Joseph, has years of experience in helping slow down the progression of nearsightedness in younger individuals. Through trusted and medically approved correction methods, we can tackle myopia in children.

Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Vision for Life clinic in George.

Child at the optometrist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

    Subscribe and Get The Latest News

    Related Posts

    What Is an Ophthalmologist?

    What Is an Ophthalmologist and What Vision Care Do They Provide? Have you…

    Dr Joseph pioneers advanced laser eye surgery in SA

    Laser Eye Surgery: SA Cape Town - A Knysna ophthalmic surgeon is at…

    Eyhance Intra-ocular lens trial

    Intra-ocular lens trial I am offering an Intra-ocular lens trial! In refractive surgery,…

    Copyright © Dr Dylan Joseph - All rights reserved