Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a prevalent vision problem that usually develops during childhood or adolescence. It affects an estimated five percent of preschoolers, nine percent of school-aged children, and 30 percent of adolescents.
Kids with nearsighted parents are more likely to develop myopia themselves, despite the condition becoming more common in general. Why this is the case is not understood, but some eye care professionals believe it relates to the increasing amount of time kids spend indoors on close-up tasks. These include activities like using computers and playing video games.
Myopia affects more than one-third of the global population. Experts expect this figure to rise to 50 percent by 2050. Whether you suspect your child is nearsighted or has little to no knowledge of the condition, supporting and managing your little one's vision is essential.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common vision condition that causes an inability to see distant objects clearly. Light rays focus incorrectly on the retina due to an irregular eye shape, such as a more curved cornea or a longer eyeball. This condition usually begins in childhood or adolescence and affects a significant proportion of people in these age groups. It is treatable with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Due to the rapid growth of children’s eyes, their nearsightedness tends to worsen progressively. Kids with this refractive error may require more frequent prescription strength adjustments. Also, they are more likely to develop other eye problems in the future.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to detect myopia in very young kids. That is because they may be unaware that they have a vision problem or may be unable to communicate it.
If the eye shape is incorrect, it can affect how light focuses within the eye. If the cornea is too curved or the eyeball is too long, the light will not reach the retina at the back of the eye. It will fall short, resulting in blurry vision when looking at distant objects. That is similar to how to set up a projector, where the image will not be clear if the screen is too far away.
Nearsightedness that develops in childhood typically results from rapid eye growth. It can also happen when the eye grows after age 10-12 when growth normally ceases. Its prevalence in children is increasing. That may be due to the increased use of handheld electronics and decreased time spent outside.
Several risk factors can increase a child's chances of developing myopia, including the following:
Race, with the condition being more common in Hispanic and Asian populations
Vision therapy, or vision rehabilitation, is a treatment to correct vision problems and improve visual skills. Its purpose is to teach children how to use their eyes effectively and comfortably to enhance their visual skills and overall visual function.
Many kids with vision problems can benefit from vision therapy, but it may not be appropriate for every child. To determine whether vision therapy is right for your little one, consult a healthcare professional such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Regular eye exams are always a good idea to monitor your child's eye health and address any vision problems as soon as possible. Also, understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of nearsightedness can help you reduce your little one's risk or slow its progression.
For more on vision therapy, visit VEO Vision Therapy at our Wichita, Kansas office. Call (316) 999-4100 to schedule an appointment today.