Myopia, also called nearsightedness, is a refractive error that affects many children worldwide. It occurs when the eyeball becomes stretched or curved too much, causing a faulty redirection of light entering the eye.
Untreated myopia can impact your child’s quality of life and educational development. For that reason, exploring how to spot myopia signs in children is vital for early management.
Many are introduced to myopia once they find it difficult to see objects in the distance without changing how they see those close to them. It usually begins during childhood or adolescence and worsens over time. The exact causes of myopia are not fully understood, but both genetic and environmental factors have a role. Experts also associate excessive near work with myopia progression and development in children.
Spotting myopia signs in children can be challenging, as they may not always be conscious of their vision problems. However, there are indicators that parents and caregivers can look out for. These include:
· Frequent blinking or squinting.
· Leaning too close to the television or holding books very close.
· Complaints of headaches or eyestrain.
· Difficulty recognizing distant objects or reading the board at school.
· Rubbing the eyes excessively.
· Lack of interest in outdoor activities.
Regular eye exams are vital for early detection and myopia management in children. Children should undergo their first thorough eye examination by six months, then proceed with additional exams at three years old and before starting school. Afterward, they should have routine eye exams every one to two years, depending on their needs and risk factors.
Optical corrections like eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common form of myopia treatment. These devices help correctly focus light on the retina, allowing for clearer distance vision.
Eyeglasses are often the preferred choice for children. They are safe, easy to use, and can provide additional protection from potential eye injuries. However, older children and teenagers may opt for contact lenses for cosmetic reasons or specific activities.
Orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k, is another myopia management option. It involves wearing specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses overnight. These temporarily reshape the cornea and correct vision during the day.
Ortho-k lenses are removed upon waking, and the effects last throughout the day. The treatment can slow myopia progression. It is suitable for children actively involved in sports. It also suits those with difficulty wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses during the day.
Some lifestyle modifications can help manage myopia in children. Encouraging outdoor activities reduces myopia development and progression. Natural light and distance viewing help promote healthy eye development.
Excessive screen time can strain the eyes and contribute to myopia progression. Set reasonable limits on screen usage and encourage frequent breaks to reduce eye fatigue. Encourage your child to maintain proper posture while reading or using electronic devices. Holding reading materials at an appropriate distance and avoiding slouching alleviates eyestrain.
Eye care professionals, such as optometrists and ophthalmologists, are the best. They have the expertise to assess and monitor a child’s vision and prescribe appropriate treatments. Regular follow-up appointments allow for tracking myopia progression. They also help in making necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Working together with eye care professionals ensures effective management of the condition.
For more about myopia in children, visit Optikos Optometry at our office in Los Angeles, California. Call (213) 642-3200 to book an appointment today.