What is Myopia?
Myopia (which is commonly known as nearsightedness) occurs when the eye grows longer than average.
As myopia increases, uncorrected clarity of vision suffers more. But myopia isn't only a concern for today's vision; as myopia increases, so does the risk of glaucoma, retinal detachments, myopic maculopathy, and early onset cataracts. It may also limit potential refractive surgery options in adulthood.
How Common in Myopia?
Myopia is on the increase. In the 1970s, roughly 25% of people were myopic. It is projected that by 2050, 50% of the world's population will be myopic, with 10% of the world's population being highly myopic and at risk of serious eye health conditions.
Can I Prevent Myopia?
Myopia develops mostly during childhood. Those at highest risk are children with one or more myopic parents, who are of Asian decent, or who spend more time spent on tasks like reading and tablets and less time playing outside.
You and your children can make small changes to help reduce the risk of myopia.
20/20/20 Rule: After every 20 minutes of near work, take a 20 second break, and look 20 feet away. This allows our focusing system to relax, lessening the stimulus to develop myopia.
Go outside: Kids that spend 1-2 hours outside each day are less likely to develop myopia.
Good night iPad: Technology is hard to escape, as schools are integrating iPads and laptops into the classroom, but recreational screen time should be limited to 2 hours per day.
Proper visual hygiene: Ensure that your kids are reading with good lighting. Also, make sure that near work is held at least the distance of the forearm from the face. You can demonstrate this by having them rest their chin on their hand and elbow on the reading surface.
Can Myopia Be Treated?
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, myopia still strikes. But now, we have new options to slow down myopic progression and decrease the associated health risks. Ask Dr. Bills if one of our Myopia Management programs may be right for your child.