Recognizing Nearsightedness (Myopia) in Children

What is Myopia?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition in which people can see objects close to them clearly, but objects farther away appear blurry. Myopia typically occurs if the cornea is too curved or the eyeball is too long. As a result, light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly, and distant objects are blurred.

Who does it affect?

Nearly 30 percent of the United States population is affected by myopia. While the exact cause is undetermined, some believe it can be inherited. Because the eye is still growing during childhood, myopia is typically recognized in children. Children with myopia may have difficulty clearly seeing a whiteboard, a sign, or recognizing people farther away.

How is it diagnosed?

Myopia is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. An eye doctor may use several tests to measure how the eye focuses light. One common test is a visual acuity test where your child will identify letters or numbers on a distance chart. This test will determine how well your child can read at a distance and how close your child is to normal distance visual acuity of 20/20 vision.

Evaluating the information from these numerous tests, the eye doctor can determine if your child has myopia. The eye doctor can also determine the lens prescription needed to provide clearer vision. Once testing is complete, the eye doctor can further discuss the treatment options.

Most children do not complain about myopia, because they may not recognize they have a vision problem. If you see your child sitting closer to the television or squinting, this may indicate that something isn’t right. Your child should have their vision checked as an infant, toddler, preschooler, and when they are school-aged. It’s especially important if you have a family history of progressive nearsightedness or other eye conditions.

How is it treated?

For most children with myopia, eyeglasses are the primary choice for correction. If your child is mature enough, contacts are another simple solution. Depending on how severe your child’s myopia is, your child may only need to wear their glasses or contacts for certain activities or during the school day. Consult with your eye doctor to determine the best solution for your child.

Your child’s eyes are their gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Don’t wait until it’s too late; schedule your child a comprehensive eye exam today!


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