A new concern among parents nowadays emerges as the numbers of children who are short-sighted or myopic has been increasing year after year. The questions of is my child short-sighted? Why is she short-sighted? How can I help my child?Let us first try to understand what short-sightedness is. Short-sightedness or nearsightedness are the most common term for myopia. This is a common eye condition that makes things blurry. It usually starts in childhood and progressively worsens until the child stops growing. It is a common eye condition in both adults and children. The percentages of myopic individuals are increasing year after year and the offset age is getting younger and younger as in 1983, it was 11 years old but in 2000, it was 8 years-old.
What are the signs to look out for in your children:
- Distance vision becoming blurry
- Moving closer to the television (TV)
- Performance in school is reducing
- Complaints of headaches
- Tired eyes
- Squinting or screwing their eyes up
You might be asking what causes myopia? And why is my child myopic at a young age? There are two main factors that can put your child at risk of developing myopia which is genetics and lifestyle.
The risk of a child developing myopia increases when their parents are myopic. If both parents are short-sighted, there is a 1 in 2 changes that the child will be short-sighted. If one parent is short-sighted, there is 1 in 3 changes of the child being myopic. If neither of the parents are myopic, there is still a 1 in 4 chances that the child will develop myopia.
Modern lifestyle may have influence the development of myopia as children are doing prolonged activities that puts their eyes nearer to objects such has reading and gaming on portable devices. Children nowadays rarely play outside anymore and are always indoors. Poor lighting levels also play a role in developing myopia.
Now, what is myopia? Well, blurry distance vision due to myopia is caused by the eye growing too long which makes light focused in front of and not on the retina. Treating myopia early can slow its progression, reducing the potential risk of developing future eye health issues. It is crucial to have children’s eyes examined regularly.
We now know the cause and what is myopia, now, how do we deal with it? Parents or guardians should encourage more time outdoors. It is recommended that children spend at least 90 minutes a day outdoors to decrease the risk of developing myopia.
If your child is short-sighted, wearing glasses or contact lenses can help your child see clearly but it will often need updating as they do little to nothing in slowing down the speed of myopia’s progression.
Myopia management contact lenses or Ortho-K can help control your child’s myopia progression. If your child is short-sighted or you suspect that they are, get their eyes checked as soon and possible to get the best steps to slow down the progression of myopia.