Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive error, which means the eye does not bend or refract light properly to a single focus to see images clearly. In myopia, close objects look clear but distant objects appear blurred. It is an eye focusing disorder, not an eye disease.

Myopia is often discovered in children when they are between ages eight and 12 years old. During the teenage years, when the body grows rapidly, myopia may become worse. The symptoms often continue until age 20 or longer if untreated. child having eye exam

Recent studies show the prevalence of myopia rising at an alarming rate. The National Eye Institute warns that by 2020, 39 million Americans will be nearsighted, and that the figure will grow to 44.5 million by 2050. In all age groups, an estimated one-third of the population has myopia, however, the incidence rate is as high as 90% in some parts of East Asia. 

Without getting treatment for myopia, your child has a higher chance of developing serious eye problems when they’re older, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and macular degeneration.
Signs of myopia in children include:
 
  • Holding books, tablets, or homework close to the face
  • Sitting too close to the TV
  • Squinting or closing one eye to read
  • Frequent headaches
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Worsening school or athletic performance, or withdrawal from those activities could indicate a vision problem

Studies conducted over recent years have suggested a few reasons to explain the increase in myopia among children.child at tablet
 
  • Heredity and a person’s ethnicity and family background can increase the risk. 
 
  • Children are interacting with more types of technology more often. This includes electronic games, laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones and other handheld technology. As technology has improved, it has become more personal and is being used at closer distances.
 
  • Decrease in outdoor time combined with access to technology. Time spent outdoors allows eyes to benefit from improved light and the ability to focus at a distance. Studies also show outdoor activities suppress the development of myopia, so encourage your child to spend time outdoors and spend time away from their computer, tablets, phones and TV screens.

The Myopic Clinic at The Eye Institute offers several different customized treatment options to prevent the onset or reduce the progression of myopia in pediatric patients specifically. The child’s eyes will be evaluated to review any possible myopia progression present during the examination.child eye exam
 
Optometrists will look at the amount of myopia (refraction) in the child’s eyes and measure the length of their eye. After the evaluation, treatment options will be discussed based on each individual child’s current needs. 

Call The Eye Institute at 215.276.6111 to schedule an appointment at the Myopic Clinic.