When an object in the distance appears blurry or out of focus, yet close objects remain in focus, that is a vision disorder called myopia, which is also known as nearsightedness. It is a very common vision condition in kids, often appearing between the ages of 6-14. Although myopia affects almost one-third of all adolescents in the U.S., it does not always get diagnosed as early as it should. Here is some important information parents need to know regarding what to watch for, as well as how to treat it.
Signs of myopia
Kids with myopia can often perform close-up tasks like reading and writing without a problem. So sometimes a parent might not realize that their child is having trouble focusing on objects in the distance. Any of the following symptoms can indicate that myopia might be present:
- Holding books or other reading materials close to their face when reading
- Squinting when watching TV or looking at the chalkboard / whiteboard in school
- Sitting very close to the TV when watching
- Always requesting a seat in the front of the classroom
- Losing interest in playing sports that require good distance vision
- Frequent headaches
- Excessive blinking
- Frequent rubbing of the eyes
Tips to reduce effects
While there is no total cure for myopia, there are several proactive actions you can take that can help to slow the progression of myopia, including:
- Get outdoors more often, as increased exposure to daylight has been associated with slowing its progression
- Limit time spent in front of digital screens
- Take frequent breaks when working at a computer or doing other close-up work
- Eat healthy foods like fruits and green leafy vegetable that contain vitamins and nutrients that promote eye health
- Get regular vision exams
Treatments for myopia
There are several options available to help kids regain or improve distance vision, including:
- Compensatory lenses – this is a very common form of treatment and is what is thought of when people think of eyeglasses for clarity, and can be used for kids of all ages. This treatment can be in the form of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. We can discuss which is the most appropriate choice, based on your child’s age, lifestyle, activity level, etc.
- Therapeutic lenses – these special lenses are designed to help either reduce the total amount of myopia or help keep the myopia from increasing in severity. These therapeutic lenses can be successful alone but sometimes are used in addition to vision therapy procedures. They can be single vision lenses, bifocals or no-line bifocals, they may also include small amounts of prism and can also be contact lenses or any combination of the above.
- Vision Therapy – vision therapy is a kind of physical therapy for the visual system, and is a very effective treatment option for kids whose myopia results from reduced eye focusing skills. A customized vision therapy program uses a series of therapeutic eye exercises to strengthen eye muscles and help patients recover normal visual function. It can be used as an individual treatment, or in combination with glasses or contacts, to improve myopia in children.
Visit Family Vision Development Center for a Complete Evaluation
The earlier myopia is detected in children, the sooner treatment can begin, which can help reduce the overall progression of the disease. The most effective way to diagnose a vision issue like myopia is through a comprehensive vision exam. So if you suspect that your child is struggling with distance vision, have them evaluated as early as possible. The compassionate staff at Family Vision Development Center is experienced working with patients of all ages and we are dedicated to improving the eye health of kids and adults alike. Contact us at 630-962-2020 to schedule an appointment for your child’s vision exam or learn more about our practice here https://www.fvdcpc.com/about/.