What Causes Myopia to Worsen?

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Young girl sitting on couch playing video games and not going outdoors which may be the cause of why her myopia is getting worse.

Your child’s vision is important. Proper vision helps your child learn, play, and participate in what’s happening around them. But what if your child is experiencing a problem with their vision?

Myopia is a common vision issue often diagnosed in early childhood and it tends to progress with age. If your child has been diagnosed with myopia during an eye exam, we can help!. With constant developments in the optometry industry, children who suffer from myopia have a better chance of succeeding than ever before!

Keep reading to learn more about myopia, what causes it to worsen with age, and how myopia management can protect your child’s eyesight as they develop. 

What is Myopia?

If your child has myopia or nearsightedness, it means that they can see close objects clearly, but they may have difficulty seeing objects that are further away. 

As your child grows, their visual system grows too. If your child’s eye grows too long from front to back, or the cornea grows too curved, it can cause light rays to bend incorrectly. If the light coming into your child’s eyes doesn’t bend correctly, it can improperly focus images in front of your retina instead of on your retina, causing faraway objects to appear blurry. 

How to Notice the Signs of Myopia in Your Child

Your child may not understand that they’re experiencing a vision issue, so it can be hard to know when to seek help from an optometrist. The only way to know if your child has myopia is to have your optometrist perform an eye exam

During an eye exam, your child’s optometrist will assess their overall eyesight and eye health, helping keep your child’s vision healthy as they continue to grow. Routine annual eye exams ensure your child is receiving the proper care and treatment they need. 

If you notice your child is experiencing any of the following  symptoms, it’s best to bring them in for an eye exam, regardless of when their last exam was. 

  • Complaining of eye pain or headaches
  • Rubbing their eyes a lot 
  • Struggling with sensitivity to light  
  • Having trouble focusing on or following an object
  • Squinting in order to see objects
  • Viewing objects too closely in order to see them properly 

The good news is, with regular eye exams, many vision problems that are found early can be corrected.

What causes myopia to get worse?

What Causes Myopia to Get Worse?

Myopia usually appears in childhood, and it can continue to progress until your child reaches their early twenties. But what causes myopia to worsen?

Not Enough Time Outdoors

Spending enough time outdoors can help protect your child’s eyes against the progression of myopia. When your child plays outside it gives their eye muscles the opportunity to take a break from constantly focusing. Additionally, natural light may help your child’s eyes grow at the correct rate. 

Too Much Screen Time

If your child’s myopia is getting worse, too much screen time could be to blame. Viewing digital devices too closely to the eyes has been linked to an increased myopia risk because it can overwhelm a child’s focusing system.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends ensuring children aged 2-5 have less than 1 hour of screen time per day, and children aged 6 and over have less than 2 hours of screen time per day.

Too Much Time Spent Doing Near Vision Tasks 

Near vision tasks include any task that requires close focusing, such as reading, writing, and even playing. Too much time spent doing near-vision tasks can put stress on your child’s focusing skills and can cause their myopia to get worse. 

If your child is spending a lot of time doing near vision tasks, encourage them to take breaks to give their eye muscles a chance to relax. 

Young child putting eye drops into her eyes to help control myopia from progressing

How Can Myopia Management Help?

Myopia management can help protect your child’s vision as they develop. At Cowichan Eyecare, we have developed a myopia management program so we can provide the highest level of care to our patients. 

To help your child we offer a variety of myopia control techniques, including:

  • Multifocal soft contact lenses
  • Orthokeratology or “Ortho-K” contact lenses
  • Low dose atropine eye drops
  • Specific myopia control eyeglasses 

If you’re interested in how myopia control can help your child please contact us. Our team at Cowichan Eyecare is always happy to help!

Book Your Child’s Next Eye Exam

The best defense against vision problems is getting regular eye exams. During an eye exam, your child’s optometrist will assess their eyesight, check the health of their entire visual system, and create a customized treatment plan so they can get the help they need.

Book your child’s next eye exam today!

Written by Anita Voisin

Dr. Voisin grew up in Waterloo, Ontario, and graduated as a Doctor of Optometry from the University of Waterloo in 1997. She practiced in Oshawa, Ontario for 2 years prior to joining Trevor Miranda at Cobble Hill Eyecare (formerly Mill Bay Eyecare). In June 2000, Anita also began providing Chemainus with comprehensive ocular health examinations in our then newly opened Chemainus office. Anita strives to improve the quality of life of each of her patients and enjoys educating local organizations on the importance of eye health. She is actively involved in the community with the Chemainus Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Chemainus. Dr. Voisin is dedicated to serving the vision needs of the Cowichan Valley and welcomes new patients at either location. Dr. Voisin is available for appointments in Chemainus and Cobble Hill.
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