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How to control myopia progression in kids?

Posted May 24, 2024 in Eye Health

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common vision problem that often begins in childhood. It occurs when the eye grows too long, causing light to focus in front of the retina rather than on it. As a result, distant objects appear blurry while close-up objects are clear. With the increasing use of digital devices and reduced time spent outdoors, myopia rates among children are rising. However, there are effective strategies to control its progression. In this blog, we’ll explore practical methods to manage myopia in kids, helping to preserve their vision and quality of life.

Myopia

What are the causes of myopia in children?

Myopia in children can be attributed to various factors. Some of the major causes are mentioned below: 

  • Genetic factors: Myopia often runs in families. If one or both parents are nearsighted, their children are at a higher risk of developing myopia. While genetic predisposition cannot be changed, being aware of this risk can help in early detection and management.
  • Environmental factors: Modern lifestyle changes, such as increased screen time and less outdoor activity, contribute significantly to myopia progression. Prolonged close-up tasks, like reading or using digital devices, can strain the eyes and promote myopia development.
  • Eye growth patterns: Myopia results from abnormal eye growth. During the critical years of eye development, typically between ages 6 and 14, the eyeball may elongate excessively. Regular eye exams can monitor these growth patterns and help manage myopia progression.

How can outdoor activities help control myopia?

Spending more time outdoors has been shown to slow the progression of myopia in children. Exposure to natural light and engaging in activities that require looking at distant objects can help. Aim for at least two hours of outdoor play each day. Activities like playing sports, hiking, or simply taking a walk can be beneficial. Encouraging kids to take regular breaks from close-up tasks and looking into the distance can also reduce eye strain and support eye health.

What are the effective treatments for controlling myopia?

There are several effective treatments available for controlling the progression of myopia in children:

  • Atropine eye drops: Low-dose atropine eye drops have been shown to slow myopia progression in children. These drops are typically applied once daily and work by relaxing the eye’s focusing mechanism. Consult your eye care professional to see if atropine drops are suitable for your child.
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) lenses: Ortho-K involves wearing specially designed contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea temporarily. This method can slow the progression of myopia and provide clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. It’s important to follow your eye care provider’s instructions for safe and effective use.
  • Multifocal contact lenses: Multifocal contact lenses have different zones for near, intermediate, and distance vision. These lenses can help reduce eye strain and control myopia progression. Regular monitoring and fitting by an eye care professional are crucial for the best results.

What lifestyle changes can help control myopia progression?

Implementing these lifestyle changes can help control myopia progression:

  • Limit screen time: Encourage breaks from screens and close-up work every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds (the 20-20-20 rule).
  • Increase outdoor time: Aim for at least two hours of outdoor activities daily.
  • Ensure proper lighting: Make sure children have adequate lighting for reading and other close-up tasks.
  • Encourage regular eye exams: Schedule annual eye exams to monitor vision changes and adjust treatments as needed.

If you’re concerned about your child’s myopia, Erin Ridge Vision Care is here to help. Our experienced optometrists specialize in managing and controlling myopia progression in kids. Schedule an appointment today for a comprehensive eye exam and personalized treatment plan. Let’s work together to protect your child’s vision and ensure their eyes stay healthy!

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