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Importance of Myopia Control for Children

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common vision problem that affects many children. It occurs when the eye grows too long, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This results in blurred distance vision and can make it difficult for children to see objects far away.

According to the American Optometric Association, myopia affects approximately 30% of the U.S. population and is expected to increase to 50% by 2050. This is a concerning trend, as myopia can lead to more serious eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life. That's why it's crucial for parents to understand the importance of myopia control for their children's eye health.

Myopia is on the rise – in its frequency and its severity. The reason for its escalation has been linked to two factors:​

myopia genetics

​Genetics​

Genetics play an important role in developing myopia. A child where both parents are myopic has a much higher chance of developing high myopia (over 6.00 D) than one with only one or no parent that is myopic.  Children who are nearsighted at a young age (10 years old or under) are likely to become highly myopic. ​​

myopia lifestyle

Lifestyle

The environment also plays a major role in worsening the degree of myopia. Many studies have linked urbanization and education to myopia. Long hours of reading, computer use and near work, in general, are believed to be negative environmental factors in developing myopia.

There are many studies that show outdoor activities with sun exposure helps to slow down increases in myopia. A lack of sun exposure can be a contributing factor to the development of myopia in children. A rule of thumb for a good amount of outdoor activities to prevent myopia progression is 12 hours a week for children during their growth years.

Children who spend more time on activities like reading or using handheld devices instead of spending time outdoors are more likely to become myopic.

What is Myopia Control?

Myopia Control for Kids

Myopia control refers to the various methods used to slow down or stop the progression of myopia in children. There are three main treatments for myopia managment. These methods can include wearing glasses or contact lenses, using eye drops, or undergoing orthokeratology (ortho-k) treatment. Ortho-k treatment is considered the gold standard for myopia control in children. It is a non-surgical, non-invasive method that has been shown to effectively slow down the progression of myopia. It also offers the added benefit of clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Click to learn more about the different myopia management treatments:

Benefits of Myopia Control

The primary benefit of myopia control is slowing down the progression of myopia in children. This can help prevent the development of more serious eye conditions later in life. But there are also other benefits to consider, such as:

  • Improved academic performance: Children with myopia may struggle to see the board or read from a distance, which can affect their academic performance. Myopia control can help improve their vision and potentially improve their grades.

  • Better self-esteem: Children with myopia may feel self-conscious about wearing glasses or contact lenses. Myopia control can help reduce their dependence on corrective eyewear, boosting their self-esteem and confidence.

  • Reduced risk of eye diseases: High myopia, also known as severe or pathological myopia, is a condition where the eye grows too long, causing severe nearsightedness. This can lead to a higher risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. By controlling their myopia progression, children can reduce their risk of these conditions and maintain good eye health.

How to Control Myopia in Children

 

Visit an Optometrist

The first step in controlling myopia in children is to visit an optometrist. They will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine the severity of your child's myopia and recommend the best course of action.

Consider Ortho-K Treatment

Ortho-k treatment is a popular choice for myopia control in children. It is a non-surgical, non-invasive method that has been shown to effectively slow down the progression of myopia. It also offers the added benefit of clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Encourage Outdoor Activities

Studies have shown that spending more time outdoors can help reduce the risk of myopia in children. Encourage your child to spend at least 2 hours a day outside to help control their myopia.

 

Limit Screen Time

Excessive screen time has been linked to an increased risk of myopia in children. Limiting your child's screen time can help reduce their risk of developing myopia or slow down its progression.

 

Follow Up with Regular Eye Exams

Myopia can progress quickly, especially during childhood. It's essential to follow up with regular eye exams to monitor your child's myopia and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan.

We Offer Myopia Control Services

If you're looking for myopia control services for your child, look no further than our practice. Our experienced optometrists specialize in pediatric optometry and offer a range of myopia control options, including ortho-k treatment. We serve the Reseda, Winnetka, Northridge, Tarzana,, Woodland Hills, and Canoga Park areas, providing convenient and accessible care for your child's eye health.

Myopia control is crucial for children's eye health, as it can help prevent the development of more serious eye conditions later in life. By visiting our office, considering ortho-k treatment, and encouraging outdoor activities, parents can help control their child's myopia and improve their quality of life. Remember to follow up with regular eye exams to monitor your child's myopia and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan.

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