25% of all school-age children have a vision problem serious enough to impact their educational performance. In particular, optometrists are seeing an increasing number of children with myopia (nearsightedness), a condition that can cause vision problems serious enough to impact educational performance. Currently, one in four parents has a child with some degree of nearsightedness.
What is myopia?
Myopia is an eye focus disorder that causes difficulty in clearly seeing distant objects. For example, a child with myopia would be unable to read the board at the front of their classroom or signage within the school.
What causes myopia?
Nearsightedness is believed to be caused by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. People with myopia more than likely have at least one parent who also has myopia.
The likelihood of children developing nearsightedness is:
▻ 1 in 2 when both parents have myopia
▻ 1 in 3 when one parent has myopia
▻ 1 in 4 when neither parent has myopia
Research also shows that prolonged time spent with digital devices, like smartphones and tablets, can influence the development of myopia. Poor lighting levels and insufficient time outdoors are additional contributing factors.
What are the signs of myopia in children?
Children with myopia may exhibit the following symptoms:
▻ Frequent squinting
▻ Complaining of headaches
▻ Sitting too close to the TV
▻ Poor school performance & grades
▻ Shortened attention span
▻ Holding objects close to their face
How is myopia in children treated?
The most common treatments for Myopia are eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Another option is CRT contact lenses, which are hard lenses worn overnight that temporarily reshape the cornea, allowing for unassisted vision during the day. CRT lenses also help to slow the progression of myopia.
Cooper Vision makes a soft contact lens called MiSight, specifically for children between the ages of 8 and 12, that helps to correct vision while simultaneously slowing the progression of nearsightedness by preventing the eye shape from elongating, the core cause of myopia. In a clinical trial, MiSight slowed the progression of myopia by 59% on average and treatment gains were retained over a 12-month period after treatment ceased.
Myopia in children often goes undiagnosed until symptoms worsen with the progression of the disorder. Early detection of nearsightedness and other vision impairments is essential in providing the best treatment at the most opportune time. Before school begins, schedule your child for a comprehensive eye exam at Sexton Vision Group.