Myopia (nearsightedness) in children is increasing at an alarming rate. Myopia is becoming more and more prevalent around the world. By 2050, research suggests that 50% of the world’s population may be myopic. Myopia is considered elevated as of -6D, at which point the risk of pathologies such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and maculopathy increases.
There are several risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of developing myopia. These factors include genetics, eye length and environmental conditions.
It’s important to delay myopia onset until after 10 years old because progression of myopia is much faster before the age of 10.
There are 4 elements that we can control in terms of environmental conditions:
- Distance of computer and near work
- Time spent at computer or near
- Adequate lighting
- Time spent outdoors
Studies show 1-2 hours per day of outdoor time before myopia onset can provide a protective effect against myopia.
We recommend no screen time for children under the age of 2. Between the ages of 2 and 8, children should be on screens for no more than 1 hour per day. For children over the age of 8, a maximum of 2 hours of screen time per day for leisure (excluding school work) is recommended.
Nutrition is also an important factor that can influence the length of the eye. Foods with high glycemic content are more likely to lead to myopia.
There are several treatment options available to help control myopia progression, including orthokeratology (wearing hard contact lenses overnight), soft multifocal lenses, pharmaceutical drops and myopia management glasses lenses.
Zeiss offers myopia management lenses that work to stabilize myopia in children. Peer-reviewed studies have shown slower progression of myopia in children compared with standard spectacle lenses. UV protection is standard on ZEISS myopia management lenses, including clear lenses. This feature is particularly important for young patients since their pupils are larger and therefore allow more UV light to reach the back of the eye.
Eye exams at an early age are important in order for the detection and early treatment of myopia, as well as other ocular conditions. Book an appointment for your child’s eyes today.