Is My Child's Myopia Worsening?

Is My Child's Myopia Worsening? in Olympia

A Parent's Guide to Managing Myopia in Children?

Myopia is the medical term for "nearsightedness", where people develop blurred distance vision while retaining clear close-up vision. It can be diagnosed during a standard eye exam for visual acuity. 

Myopia is becoming more pervasive worldwide with some estimates maintaining that approximately half of the world's population will have this condition by 2050. The American Optometric Association reports that myopia already impacts close to 30% of the U.S. populace. Without optometric intervention, myopia can degenerate and may result in other complications such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. 

Many parents worry that their child’s myopia may be degenerating, and would like to know how to identify and prevent its progression. The following article will explain the factors that may contribute to myopia progression.

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What Factors May Lead To Myopia Progression?

Certain factors may contribute to a worsening of the condition in children with myopia. These include:

  • Natural Eye Growth: Normal eye growth may lead to a lengthening of the eye or corneal curvature, both of which are associated with this condition.
  • Hereditary Factors: Several studies show a hereditary component to myopia. Inform the optometrist if you have a family history of eye disorders
  • Insufficient Outdoor Play: Studies have shown lower levels of myopia among children who spend more time outdoors. 
  • Eye-Strain: Over-exposure to digital screens and excessive close-up work (such as extensive periods of reading) may lead to a worsening of this condition. Children often notice these symptoms when they experience difficulty watching a movie or looking at the classroom whiteboard from afar.

Common Questions

Myopia management is an active treatment seeking to slow down the progression of myopia, and thereby reducing the risk of developing vision threatening ocular diseases associated with high levels of myopia. With myopia management this will not only provide clear vision but aim to slow the growth of the eye and thus slow the change in prescription over time. There are various myopia management treatment options including ortho-keratology specialty hard lenses, specialty multifocal contact lenses, and atropine eye drops. Consult your eye doctor today to determine which treatment option is right for you.
Pre-myopia is the stage right before a patient starts to develop a minus prescription. Pre-myopia is a refractive state of an eye that is between +0.50-+0.75D of hyperopia, and when a child has an increased risk of developing myopia in the future based on other factors as well. It is important to identify this stage to intervene and start discussing methods to prevent the onset of myopia. At this point, your eye doctor may recommend you spend more time outdoors (at least 2 hours per day), reduce the amount of time spent on near tasks or on digital devices, or begin taking low doses of atropine depending on how high your risk factors are for myopia. Be sure to have regular comprehensive eye exams so your eye doctor can determine what the best course of treatment is for you.
Is myopia management really necessary? Answer: Yes. Myopia is a growing disease and if you don't catch it early and take action to slow its progression, it increases your risk of developing vision-threatening eye conditions such as myopic maculopathy, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. In addition, the more myopia you have, the more you will need to depend on your glasses and this will affect your overall quality of life. Consult with your eye doctor about various myopia management treatment options.
Myopia usually appears in childhood and as a child grows, especially during their critical growth period, their myopia can get worse with age. Typically once a person reaches 18 years old, or after college when they are done with prolonged near work, the myopia tends to stabilize. However, to prevent myopia from reaching high levels, which can then lead to various sight threatening ocular diseases, it’s important to try to slow down the progression of myopia. Therefore, talk to your eye doctor today about various myopia management treatment options to help slow down the progression of your myopia.
Severe or high myopia is when your refractive error is greater than or equal to 5-6.00 Diopters of myopia.
There are various myopia management treatment options available to slow down the progression of your myopia. These include ortho-keratology speciality hard lenses, speciality multifocal contact lenses, and atropine eye drops. Consult your eye doctor today to determine which treatment option is best for you.
As you grow, your eyeball grows longer resulting in your myopia to increase. However there are certain factors that can exacerbate the rate of your myopia progressing, some that are in your control and others that are not. There can be genetic factors that can increase your risk of developing higher levels of myopia, for instance if both of your parents are myopic this increases your risk of myopia. However, there can also be environmental factors as well. For instance, if you spend a prolonged period of time on digital devices (more than 2 hours per day) or do excessive near work in dim lighting, or spend very little time outdoors (less than 2 hours per day) this can all increase the rate of myopia progression. As your myopia progresses this places you at a higher risk of developing various sight-threatening ocular diseases, so be sure to consult your eye doctor today on various myopia management treatment options to help slow down the rate of your myopia progressing.
Yes. High myopia significantly increases your risk of getting various sight threatening ocular diseases, such as myopic maculopathy, retinal detachments and glaucoma. If you have 6.00D or more of myopia the risk of you getting myopic maculopathy increases by 40x whereas if you have low levels of myopia, like -2.00D, the risk of you getting myopic maculopathy is only 2x. Consult with your eye doctor about various myopia management treatment options.
Ortho-K are specialty hard contact lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the front curvature of the eye such that then when the patient wakes up in the morning and removes the lenses they are able to see clearly throughout the day without any glasses or contact lens correction. This modality is great for kids who are involved in sports. Ortho-K is also a good alternative for kids who are not compliant with wearing their glasses. Ortho-K lenses can also help improve a patient's self esteem if they feel self conscious having to wear glasses. Another huge benefit of ortho-K for kids is, other than ortho-K providing clear vision throughout the day without any glasses/contact lens correction, it also helps to slow down the progression of a patient’s minus prescription reducing the patient’s risk of getting various sight threatening ocular conditions down the road.
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Contact Your Optometrist To Find Out More

This article is intended as an aid to follow up with an optometrist for further evaluation. It is not a diagnostic tool or replacement for optometric care. If you are concerned that your child’s myopia is getting worse, schedule an exam with an optometrist.

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  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


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  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


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  • Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


    Lars Wulff

  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

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