Some Facts About Child’s Nearsightedness
Good eye health and vision are important for your child’s development and learning. Unfortunately, eye problems and conditions in children often go unnoticed for a long time, which can lead to serious vision problems in the future.
Fortunately, routine eye exams detect eye conditions and problems before they lead to long-term and serious complications like vision loss. In this article, let’s learn more about myopia or nearsightedness in children.
What is Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness or myopia is a common vision condition among millions of children and adults. It’s a condition in which near objects appear clear while objects at a distance appear blurry.
Nearsightedness often happens when the shape of certain parts of the eyes causes light rays to refract or bend inaccurately. Myopia often develops during childhood and adolescence. However, it becomes stable at ages 20 – 40. The condition tends to run in families, and you can easily correct it with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery.
Symptoms of Nearsightedness
Signs and symptoms of nearsightedness can include:
- Eye strain
- Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
- Squinting or almost closing the eyelids to see clearly
- Blinking excessively
- Unawareness of distant objects
- Running the eyes excessively
- Watching TV or screens too close
- Difficulty seeing screen projections or whiteboards at school
- Difficulty learning or reading at school
- Difficulty reading street signs
- Blurry vision in dim light
When to See a Doctor
Visit an eye doctor near you if your child has shown any signs of vision problems or if a teacher has reported learning or reading problems. Also, seek treatment if you notice any changes in vision or vision problems when performing certain tasks like driving.
Seek emergency eye care if you or your child experience:
- Flashes of light in one or both eyes
- The sudden appearance of floaters (tiny lines or specks that drift through the visual field).
- A curtain-like gray shadow covering a part or all parts of the field of vision
- A shadow in the outer or side vision
These symptoms often indicate that the retina detaches from the back of the eye. Urgent care is necessary to correct the problem and prevent long-term damage.
Regular Eye Screening
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults and children have routine vision screenings to ensure on-time diagnosis and treatment of eye problems and conditions. Eye doctors like pediatricians and ophthalmologists can perform these screenings.
You should check your children’s vision at birth, between 6 – 12 months, and 1 – 3 years. Then at least once between ages 3 and 5, before kindergarten, and annually through to the end of high school.
Should a Child With Nearsightedness Wear Eyeglasses all the Time?
Based on your child’s condition, the eye doctor can recommend wearing eyeglasses to improve their vision. Nearsightedness glasses consist of diverging lens that corrects the converging image on the retina.
Since nearsightedness causes objects at a distance to appear blurry, your child doesn’t have to wear the glasses all day. They should only wear them when necessary, like during learning hours at school, reading at home, or when working with a computer.
Wearing the glasses for too long can reduce your eye’s ability to adjust when looking at close objects, increasing myopia. Still, consult your child’s eye doctor to determine how often and when your child should wear glasses.
Can too Much Time on the Screen Cause Nearsightedness in Children?
Research has established a strong link between prolonged screen use and increased myopia among children and adults. That said, limiting your child’s screen time is essential to protect their vision.
You can encourage them to participate in outdoor activities like swimming and riding. Also, create healthy sleep habits and ensure they sleep for at least eight hours. When using screens, teach them eye-healthy habits like the 20-20-20 rule. Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes spent on screen.
Problems Caused by Excessive Screen Time
Below are common problems associated with prolonged screen time in children:
- Eye fatigue or asthenopia (can cause dimness of vision, eye discomfort, and headaches)
- Dry and irritated eyes
- Loss of focus flexibility
- Nearsightedness or myopia
Are you looking for an eye Specialist or Ophthalmology in Scarborough? Has your child shown any eye or vision problems like myopia? Or would you like to schedule their next eye exam? Contact Dr. Allyson Tang, Optometrist – Scarborough.