Myopia, also called nearsightedness, is a common eye problem that usually develops between the age of six and 14. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 50 percent of people (one in every two) have myopia.
Myopia causes the eye to have an irregular curve that prevents it from bending light correctly. That causes things at a distance to look blurry while close-by objects look clear. When a child becomes nearsighted, the condition deteriorates every few months. That is why your child should start myopia treatment early enough.
Research shows that the earlier a child becomes myopic, the quicker their myopia can progress. That is because the natural eye-growth process worsens myopia.
As your child's eye develops and changes shape, myopia causes the eyeballs to stretch more than they should, and the cornea curves sharply. The condition tends to degenerate through the teenage years and levels off by the time the child turns 20.
Your child should start myopia treatment at the earliest opportunity—perhaps, even when your child's myopia has a low degree of severity. Treatment for low myopia may entail spending more time outdoors and not requiring vision correction or medication.
But it is still critical to detect myopia early so your child's eye doctor can monitor its progress and slow it down. Treating myopia when it is still low or mild will slow it down more effectively.
Have your child's eyes examined at six months old, three years old, and before they start first grade. If your child's eye doctor detects myopia, they will recommend the best course of action. Please note that treatment cannot reverse myopia but can stop it from worsening.
Myopia can be treated with:
Eye Glasses: Your child's ophthalmologist can recommend eyeglasses that your child can wear all the time or when needed.
Contact Lenses: Contact lenses are an alternative if your child favors them. They can be more convenient for activities like sports. But it may be a good idea to keep eyeglasses for backup.
Surgery: Eye surgery for myopia in kids is not usually an alternative. But it may be necessary for children who cannot use corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.
You can help prevent myopia from progressing in your child by:
Using low-dose atropine eye drops - Your child's ophthalmologist may prescribe low-dose atropine eye drops to slow down myopia. Doctors think the eye drops help stop the eyeball from stretching too much.
Spending more outdoor time - Outdoor activities expose your child's eyes to distant objects. That helps to exercise your child's distance vision, thus controlling myopia.
Myopia treatment is right for your child if they have myopia. If your child complains of blurry vision or squints to try to see clearly, they may have myopia. Also, frequent eye rubbing and headaches can signal myopia.
Treatment may be necessary if you have a family history of myopia, as it can pass down to your child.
For more on starting your child on myopia treatment, visit Today's Vision at our office in San Antonio, Texas. Call (210) 307-4749 to book an appointment today.