Myopia in children

& ITS MANAGEMENT

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What is Myopia?

Myopia is blurry long-distance vision, often called “short-sighted’’ or “near-sighted”. A person with myopia can see clearly up close – when reading a book or looking at a phone – but words and objects look fuzzy on a blackboard, on television or when driving. But a pair of glasses aren’t the whole story.

Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too quickly in childhood, or starts growing again in adulthood

Childhood onset myopia is most commonly caused by the eyes growing too quickly, or continuing to grow after age 10-12 when eye growth should normally cease. Genetics, environment and the individual’s characteristics can all contribute to this excess growth

In younger children, myopia progresses more quickly because their eyes are growing at a faster rate, leading to higher levels of myopia, stronger glasses and more eye health risks

Adult onset myopia usually occurs as an adaptation to fatigued eye focusing muscles due to a significant increase in close work, such as university studies.

What are the chances of my child getting myopia? Three very common factors for the possibility of your child getting myopia are genetic, environmental and close work.

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What are the chances of my child getting myopia? Three very common factors for the possibility of your child getting myopia are genetic, environmental and close work

What are the chances of my child getting myopia? Three very common factors for the possibility of your child getting myopia are genetic, environmental and close work

GENETICS

Neither parent myopic One parent myopic Two parents myopic
Low Risk Medium Risk High Risk

ENVIRONMENT: TIME SPENT OUTSIDE (per day)

High 2.7 + hours Moderate 1.6 to 2.7 hours Low 0 to 1.6 hours (2-3 times increased risk
Low Risk Medium Risk High Risk

TIME SPENT DOING CLOSE VISION TASKS (per day) not including school time. This includes reading, homework, handheld games, drawing, computer work

Low 0 to 2 hours Moderate 2 to 3 hours High 3 + hours
Low Risk Medium Risk High Risk

 How can I help? Make sure your child spends time outside every day, takes regular breaks from close work and try to limit near tasks such as homework, to two hours per day

 If the above table puts your child twice in the medium risk group then it is advisable to have their eyes examined every six months.  If you child is in the high risk group then see your optician immediately.

 What are the health risks?  The number of children with myopia is growing at an alarming rate around the world.  The younger your child develops myopia, the greater risk of more serious eye conditions in later life, like retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and even blindness.  Myopia can negatively impact your childs performance at school.

Here are some tips to help you prevent or take care of your child with myopia

  • Visit your eye care professional early and often as your child grows. Changes can be identified and we can work together to help slow or control advancement.
  • Limit your childs time in front of computers, phones and tablets.  Screen time is hard for their eyes and can contribute to myopia
  • Encourage your child to spend more time outdoors. Outdoor light can be beneficial in slowing the onset or progression on myopia – at least 90 minutes per day.