Myopia is a common visual disorder that usually manifests between the ages of 6 and 14. It is estimated to affect 5% of preschool children, about 9% of school-age children and 30% of adolescents.

Children are more at risk of developing myopia if their parents are nearsighted themselves. However, myopia is on the rise overall, especially in children. No one knows exactly why, but experts think it could be linked to children spending more time doing tasks up close indoors, like using computers and playing video games. Myopia usually worsens in adolescence, then begins to stabilize in the early twenties.

Symptoms of myopia in children.

Symptoms of myopia are:

  • Complaints of blurred vision (such as not being able to see the blackboard at school).
  • Squinting to try to see better.
  • Frequent eye rubbing.
  • Frequent headaches.

Diagnosis of myopia.

If your child does not pass an eye exam at the pediatrician or at school, he may be nearsighted. To get a diagnosis, your child will need to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Ophthalmologists perform vision checks and prescribe glasses or contact lenses. They also diagnose and treat eye diseases and perform eye surgery. An optician is trained to ensure that glasses prescribed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist are a good fit.

Treatment of myopia in children.

Myopia cannot be reversed or cured, but it can be treated. The goals of treatment are to improve your child’s vision and prevent it from getting worse. This is important to protect his eye health in the future, even if he still needs glasses or contact lenses.

Eyeglasses :

Glasses for nearsightedness can be used all the time or only when needed for your child to see from afar. It’s important to choose frames that fit well and are suitable for your child’s age and activities. For example, if you have a young child, it may be useful to buy glasses with a strap so that they stay in place more easily. Or if your child plays sports, buying sports glasses will prevent their regular glasses from breaking. An optician can help you determine what your child needs.

Contact lenses :

Contact lenses are an option if your child prefers them. They can also be useful for certain activities, especially sports. Although there is no age limit for contact lenses, your child should be able to tolerate eye drops well and practice good hygiene. Lenses should be cared for daily to prevent eye infections.

It is important to always have spare glasses. Even if your child wears contact lenses most of the time. If your child has sore or red eyes while wearing contact lenses, contact your eye doctor or optometrist immediately.

Treatments to prevent myopia from getting worse.

Researchers are studying ways to prevent myopia from getting worse in children. These potential treatments include:

Specialized contact lenses:

In some children, wearing a specialized multifocal contact lens that blurs side vision can help slow the growth of their eyes and limit nearsightedness.

Another type of contact lens treatment called orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is worn overnight to flatten the cornea. During the day, the reshaped cornea helps focus light correctly on your child’s retina to improve blurry vision. There are concerns about the safety of this treatment, as wearing contact lenses while sleeping increases the risk of irritation and infection in your child’s eyes.

More time outdoors:

By balancing screen time and time away whenever possible, you can help limit your child’s nearsightedness and protect their vision as they grow.

Eye gymnastics:

There are a number of exercises that can help prevent myopia from getting worse in children. A simple exercise is to hold a pencil at arm’s length and slowly move it towards your nose, keeping your eyes fixed on the tip of the pencil. Another exercise is to draw a series of small circles with the eyes, starting from the center and working outwards. For more advanced exercises, children can try drawing an imaginary eight with their eyes. Or hold a pencil in front of your nose and alternately cross and uncross your eyes. Regular practice of these exercises can help strengthen eye muscles and prevent myopia from getting worse.

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