Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a type of refractive error that causes blurry vision when viewing at a distance. In order to see clearly, the light entering the eye needs to be focused on the retina at the back of the eye. In eyes that develop progressive myopia, the eyeball grows too long and light no longer focuses on the retina. Myopia is a common condition that affects approximately 30% of Canadians, and is more common in those with Asian ethnicity. The number of myopia cases is rapidly increasing with earlier ages of onset and faster progression rates. Myopia is an eye focusing disorder, not an eye disease, and is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
There is currently no proven way to stop the development of myopia (nearsightedness); however, there are a number of methods that slow down its progression proven by scientific evidence. Methods include spectacle lenses, contact lenses, and eye drops, and have been proven to reduce the progression of myopia by 50-60%.
A child who shows any amount of myopia prior to age of 11 will be monitored closely during their annual eye examinations (or more often per the doctor’s discretion). If a child’s myopia is determined to be ‘fast progressing’, myopia control is strongly advised.
Those with myopia have a higher risk of developing certain retinal diseases and disorders. The retina is a wallpaper-like layer that covers the inner part of the eyes and consists of visual cells. High levels of myopia occur when the eyeball is elongated, causing structures inside of the eye, including the retina, to be stretched. As such, those with high myopia are more susceptible to developing retinal conditions. Some of these retinal conditions can be serious and may cause reduction or loss of vision.
If you want to consult about your child’s myopia and different myopia control strategies, please contact us!