Although there may be various contributing factors, researchers agree that two main risk factors for myopia development and progression are genetics and lifestyle.
Genetics: A child with two myopic parents is more likely to develop myopia compared to a child with no myopic parents. Additionally, children with East Asian ethnicity are at a higher risk with prevalence up to 90% in some East Asian cities.
Modern Lifestyle: Children should be spending at least 2 hours per day outside exposed to natural daylight. Nowadays, children do not spend enough time outdoors causing prolonged near work and poor lighting, which are contributing factors to increases in myopia. Spending excessive time viewing near tasks, including computers, handheld devices (phone/tablet/gaming devices), and even reading books is a risk factor.
Myopia is often discovered in children when they are between 8 and 12 years old, although it has been more prevalent in younger children in recent years. Myopia may increase particularly during childhood and teenage years when the body and eyeballs grow rapidly. If your child starts to show signs of myopia at a young age, it is likely that this will continue to get worse over time.
Myopia, also known as near-sightedness or short-sightedness, is a common eye condition that causes objects in the distance (such as TVs and whiteboards) to appear blurred, while close objects are often seen clearly.
In order to see clearly, the light entering the eye needs to be focused on the retina (the back of the eye). In eyes that develop progressive myopia, the eyeball grows too long with increased axial length. As a result, rays of light focus in front of the retina rather than directly onto it, causing those objects to appear blurred.
Myopia is a common condition that affects approximately 30% of Canadians, and is more common in those with East Asian ethnicity. The number of myopia cases is rapidly increasing worldwide with earlier ages of onset and faster progression rates. It is predicted that by 2050, almost 60% of the global population will have myopia. Myopia is an eye focusing disorder, not an eye disease, and is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
In children with rapidly progressing myopia, their prescription and axial length are increasing faster than the normal rate. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to completely stop the progression or development of myopia. However, there are a number of treatments that are known to be effective in slowing down the progression of myopia and the growth of the eyeball length. Each of these treatment methods have shown effectiveness between 50% to 60%. These treatments create unique visual conditions that facilitate a slower progression of myopia as the child grows. Myopia control treatment should continue with careful monitoring until a child stops showing myopia progression, which is usually during a child’s late teens or early twenties.
Treatment options include:
Regardless of myopia control treatment, general lifestyle recommendations include:
Those with myopia have a higher risk of developing certain retinal diseases and disorders. High levels of myopia occur when the eyeball is elongated with increased axial length, causing stretching of the structures inside the eye including the retina. As such, those with high myopia are more susceptible to developing conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachments, and other retinal conditions. Some of these eye conditions can be serious and may cause reduction or loss of vision.
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