What is Myopia?
Myopia is the proper name for nearsightedness. For most people, myopia develops in childhood.
Typically, it develops because the eye is longer than average from front to back as a child is growing. This means that light coming into the eye focuses in front of the retina, rather than properly on its surface.
One may suspect myopia if your child:
- squints when looking far away
- has difficulty recognizing faces from a distance
- moves closer to the TV
However, children with myopia may also not complain about their vision, and their schoolwork may not suffer because they can usually read and write comfortably close up. For this reason and others, it is important to take your child to the optometrist on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, there is often a period of rapid progression early on until the prescription stabilizes sometime during the teens to 20s.
High levels of myopia are now known to increase the risk of sight threatening conditions later in life.
We employ several methods to slow the progression of childhood myopia, a process called myopia management. It only works to slow the progression of myopia, so the earlier it is started, the better.
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What Can I do to Help My Child?
Starting off, there are some changes that are easy to implement and help prevent the progression of nearsightedness.
- Limit time on near tasks (ex. tablets, computer, and other digital devices). From children under 6 years of age, we advise an hour or less of personal screen time (we realize that can be easier said than done!).
- If you are looking at objects up close (books or smartphones), hold them at least arm’s length
- Spending time outdoors (at least 60 minutes a day) before becoming nearsighted has been shown to prolong the onset of myopia (young eye still need UV protection, so wear those sunglasses or wide brimmed hats!)
Myopia Management Options
There are several different methods of reducing the progression of myopia in children, with different levels of scientific support. The four types of myopia management that are currently accepted as likely having some value include three types of lenses and one medication.
- A medication eye drop called atropine. In some cases, “rebound myopia”, or an increase in myopia progression, can occur when it is stopped.
- Orthokeratology [Ortho-k, corneal molding, or corneal refractive therapy (CRT)] lenses are gas permeable lenses that are worn nightly and improve vision during the day for both children and adults.
- Multifocal soft contact lenses are another option that appears to be effective. These lenses are specially designed for myopia management, and several studies have shown them to be effective compared to conventional soft contact lenses or glasses.
- Multifocal glasses may be helpful for some children. However, the evidence is not as clear for this form of myopia management.
Schedule an Appointment Today in Dallas, TX at Plaza Vision Center!
If your child has been diagnosed with myopia, there are ways to slow the progression of the condition. Our optometrist is happy to speak with you about options for myopia management, including RGP lenses, soft contact lenses, and more. To make an appointment for any of your eye care needs, contact our eye doctor at Plaza Vision Center in Dallas, TX at (214) 969-0467 today!