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Could My Kid Be Nearsighted?

Reviewed by Whitney Seltman on February 06, 2020

If your doctor says your child is myopic or has myopia, they're nearsighted. It means that objects far away look blurry to them. It might get worse during their childhood and adolescense, but it’s easy to correct with eyeglasses. If they wear their eyeglasses appropriately and the prescription is accurate, it will not make their vision worse to wear glasses.

What Causes It?

If your kid has myopia, their eyeball is slightly longer than normal from front to back. Light rays, which make up the images they see sees, focus in front of their retina. They should focus directly on it. When this happens, objects at a distance seem blurry and unclear.

Multifocal contact lens or glasses and eye drops such as atropine, pirenzepine gel, or cyclopentolate have been found to help slow the progression of myopia in children. Taking the drops may cause blurred vision, sensitivity to light and maybe some itching and discomfort. Combing the special dropsand lens has also proven to be effective.  

How Is It Diagnosed?

Myopia

Most kids don't complain at all. Or yours might say it’s hard to see things far away. They might move closer to things so they can see clearly. If they seem to have trouble seeing things far away, make an appointment with an eye doctor.

Kids should get their vision checked at 6 months, 3 years, and before first grade. It’s especially important if you have a family history of progressive nearsightedness or other eye conditions.

How Is It Treated?

If your kid is nearsighted, they can wear eyeglasses. And they can switch to contacts when they’re mature enough to take care of them. That won’t be before they reach their teens. And keep in mind that parents play a role in teaching them to care for their contacts and making sure they do it. Ask your doctor if they think they can help your child.

Doctors aren’t sure if it’s possible to slow the condition down. Studies suggest that combining bifocals with eye drops that have atropine, a drug that will relax your child’s eye so it doesn’t squint on the inside. This treatment shows promise.

Can Nearsightedness Be Prevented?

Since it’s often inherited, it isn’t totally possible to prevent it. However, there are steps you can take to slow the progression. Make sure your child gets an eye exam early, especially if you have a family history of nearsightedness or other eye conditions. And pay attention: If they have trouble with details on things more than a few feet away at school or while they watch TV from a standard distance, it may be time for an eye exam. It's important for them to have the correct perscription for corrective lens because under correction can cause myopia to speed up.

Studies also show that outdoor activities suppress the development of myopia, so encourage your child to encourage your child to spend time outdoors and away from their computer and TV screens.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Optometric Association: "Myopia (Nearsightedness)."

Mayo Clinic: "Nearsightedness."

Cohrane Review: "Interventions to slow progression of myopia in children.

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