Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common vision affecting billions of people worldwide. Myopia is a concern because it can cause serious eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Fortunately, there are proven ways to slow down the development of myopia.
Myopia is best controlled in children whose eyes are still growing. Control methods like specialty lenses and contacts help slow myopia’s progression while also correcting vision. Undergoing regular eye exams and practicing healthy eye habits like limiting screen time and maintaining a nutritious diet can also help slow myopia.
What Is Myopia?
Myopia is a common eye condition that affects a person’s ability to see far-away objects clearly while close objects remain clear. It occurs when the eyeball grows too long or the cornea becomes too curved, causing light to focus in front of the retina rather than on it, resulting in blurry distance vision.
While most cases of myopia are not severe, high levels of myopia can lead to potential complications, including:
- Cataracts: a clouding of the eye’s lens that reduces vision.
- Glaucoma: an eye disease that damages the optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss.
- Retinal detachment: the separation of the retina from the eye, leading to vision loss.
Causes of Myopia
Myopia is a complex condition, and the exact cause of it isn’t entirely known. However, it likely develops due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
If one or both parents have myopia, their children may be at a higher risk of developing it too. Studies have shown that children with 2 nearsighted parents have a 60% higher chance of developing myopia than children with only one or no myopic parents.
The environment also plays a critical role in the development of myopia. Lack of outdoor exposure and excessive screen time have been linked to myopia development. Children who spend more time indoors and on screens are at a higher risk of developing myopia because they don’t get enough exposure to natural light and spend extended periods looking at close-up objects.
Other lifestyle factors such as reading and studying for extended periods, a diet low in vitamin D, and spending long hours engaging in near-work activities can also increase the risk of myopia development. In fact, it’s common for people to experience a progression in their myopia during their school years.
How to Slow Myopia Progression
As optometrists, we often have parents come to us worried about their child’s myopia getting worse. Fortunately, several strategies can help prevent your child’s myopia from worsening.
Wear Corrective Lenses
The first step in managing myopia is to make sure your child has the right corrective lenses. Myopia is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses, which provide clear vision at all distances. While annual eye exams are recommended for children 19 years of age and younger, your optometrist may recommend more frequent follow-ups based on your child’s age, amount of myopia, and risk factors.
Simcoe Optometric Clinic’s Kids Care package – all children’s eyewear purchases include no-fault lens replacement for damage, loss or prescription change (details in office).
Practice Healthy Eye Habits
There are several things you can do to promote good eye health and reduce your child’s risk of myopia, including:
- Taking frequent breaks when doing near work (such as reading or computer work).
- Keeping a healthy distance from screens and other close-up objects.
- Getting plenty of natural light.
- Encouraging outdoor playtime.
Seek Professional Treatment
Employing myopia control methods can help slow or halt myopia progression in young eyes, preventing it from worsening and curbing the risk of developing serious eye conditions later in life. There are several available options, but at Simcoe Optometric Clinic, we recommend:
- Zeiss MyoVision or Hoya MyoSmart eyeglasses: These single-vision lenses are specifically designed for children. They account for your child’s growth and are built to fit the anatomy of someone 6–12. These lenses are compatible with most designer frames.
- CooperVision MiSight contacts: These daily-wear contact lenses help slow the progression of myopia. Developed for children aged 8–12, MiSight corrects your child’s distance vision while signalling to their eyes that it’s time to stop growing.
Schedule Regular Eye Exams
One of the best things you can do for your child’s eyes and vision is to schedule regular eye exams. Not only can your optometrist check their vision and update their prescription, but they can also provide valuable information on their eye health and look for potential risks for myopia and other eye conditions that can affect your child’s quality of life.
Get Personalized Solutions from Simcoe Optometric Clinic
Taking steps to prevent myopia from worsening helps your child achieve optimal eyesight as they grow. Reducing the amount of myopia that develops may also prevent future eye health problems in adulthood. At Simcoe Optometric Clinic, we’re dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients with myopia. We believe prevention is key, and we take the time to understand your child’s unique needs to develop a personalized treatment plan that works for them. If your child is due for an eye exam or you’re looking for myopia management solutions, book an appointment with us today.