Children tend to develop myopia (nearsightedness) during the early school years, but it can develop sooner or later than this time. It tends to increase steadily throughout elementary school, and significant increases may occur during “growth spurts.” After adolescence the progression of myopia usually subsides but significant increases in nearsightedness may occur even after this point.
In this condition, distant objects appear blurred but near objects are clear. Children will usually squint to see things in the distance, or they may complain of difficulty seeing the chalkboard in school. Children will also hold objects very close to them to compensate for their myopia.
Myopia is mainly caused by the eyeball being longer than normal from front to back. Myopia has a strong hereditary influence but is also influenced by growth of the eye.
Myopia rates have been increasing across the world for the past few decades. Several factors have been found to contribute to worsening myopia in children such as increased amount of time with near-focused activities and reduced amount of time outdoors.
Myopia is corrected by wearing minus or concave lenses. This can be done with glasses or contact lenses. Patients with high myopia are at an increased risk for retinal detachment and should have yearly dilated eye exams. Refractive surgery such as LASIK can permanently reduce or eliminate myopia, but it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 years.
It is possible to slow the progression of myopia in children with certain treatments. Dilute dilating drops (such as low dose Atropine) have been studied extensively and have been found to slow myopia progression by 30-50% over several years. Certain styles of contact lenses have also been shown to slow progression. Increasing outdoor time and reducing screen time can prove beneficial as well. Wheaton Eye Clinic physicians Dr. Michael Kipp, Dr. Noha Ekdawi and Dr. Nathan McIntyre have been using low dose Atropine treatment for several years. Dr. Alan Jin is certified to prescribe special brands of contact lenses that can slow myopia.
Wheaton Eye Clinic’s unparalleled commitment to excellence is evident in our continued growth. Today we provide world-class medical and surgical care to patients in six suburban locations—Wheaton, Naperville, Hinsdale, Plainfield, St. Charles, and Bartlett.(630) 668-8250 (800) 637-1054