Myopia is better known as near-sightedness – a refractive eye condition that enables patients to see things close to their face fairly easily, but in which objects that are at a distance appear blurred. Patients with myopia have a slightly misshapen eyeball that is slight than normal from front to back. This means that when the light enters their eye, it isn’t focused properly on the retina at the back of the eye. Since the retina is responsible for sending messages to the brain to tell us what we can see, this results in a garbled message being sent and the patient experiencing blurred vision.
Although anyone can suffer from myopia, it is becoming increasingly common amongst children. In fact, studies have found that around 1 in every 4 parents has a child with myopia with the majority of their diagnoses being made between the ages of 3 and 12. This is thought in part to be related to the increasing amount of time that young people spend looking at screens and too much time indoors. Research has identified that people who spend more time outside in natural daylight are less likely to develop myopia. However, myopia is also genetic and if you or other close blood relatives have the condition, your child is more likely to develop it.
Although being near-sighted may not sound like anything to be concerned about, if your child’s condition is not managed properly during childhood, it can lead to major issues in their learning and development and significantly affect their schooling. Left untreated, eventually, it can increase your child’s risk of developing ocular conditions that can threaten their permanent vision, including early cataract development, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.
Since myopia can develop fairly early on in your child’s life, it is essential that young people are bought in for annual pediatric eye exams from the age of 6 months. This will allow your eye doctor to closely monitor your child’s vision and spot any developing myopia early on before it can have a negative impact on his learning or lifestyle. If myopia does occur, your child’s vision can be corrected using glasses or contact lenses.
Fortunately, there is a treatment that has been shown to help slow the progression of myopia. Known as orthokeratology, or ortho-k, this solution involves wearing special contact lenses overnight that place slight pressure on the cornea to manipulate it into an improved shape. When your child wakes up, he will be able to enjoy significantly improved vision during the day without the need for prescription eyewear. Although your child may notice an improvement in his vision after one session of wearing them, ortho-k lenses need to be worn every night to achieve and sustain optimal improvement.
Our experienced team of eye doctors will be happy to talk to you about the best myopia control options for your child. To speak to us about this, or to arrange an appointment for a pediatric eye exam, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices in White Plains, NY today.