Skip to content

What is myopia, and how can it affect children?

As a parent, understanding your child’s health is paramount, and that includes their eye health, too. Myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness, is an increasingly prevalent condition affecting children’s vision worldwide. Continue reading as we delve into myopia in children- its causes, how it affects your child’s eyes, and what you, as a parent, can do to manage it.

What is myopia?

Myopia, commonly called short-sightedness, is a vision correction issue that impacts millions worldwide. It occurs when the eye becomes too elongated, which causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. As a result, distant objects appear blurry while nearby objects remain clear. This is often diagnosed in children 13 and under and can progressively worsen over time. If left untreated, it can lead to serious vision problems and even blindness.


Who is at risk of developing myopia?

It’s crucial to understand some of the reasons for myopia development, and who is at risk of having it. Some of the key risk factors to note are:

  • Genetics – Your child has a 1 in 3 chance of developing myopia if one parent has the condition and a 1 in 2 chance if both parents have the condition.
  • Environmental – Lack of time spent outdoors can increase the risk of development. It is recommended that children get at least 2 hours of outdoor light daily.
  • Lifestyle – With prolonged use of phones, tablets and computer screens in this digital world, your child’s chance of developing myopia also increases, as they are only focusing on near vision tasks for the majority of their day.

risk of developing myopia

What are the symptoms of myopia?

If your child is short-sighted, you may notice a difference in how they see the world as they can experience:

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Squinting to see clearly
  • Headaches

Children may also have difficulty seeing things on whiteboards or screen projections in the classroom. It’s important to note that younger children may not verbalise their difficulty in seeing, but certain behaviours could indicate they are having trouble with their vision:

  • Seeming unaware of distant objects
  • Blinking excessively
  • Rubbing their eyes frequently
  • Sitting close to the television

symptoms of myopia

Myopia treatment

There are many clinically proven ways to slow down the progression of myopia through contact lenses and glasses. To find out more about these methods, check out our blog here.

It’s important to start thinking proactively and manage your child’s myopia from a young age when their prescription is lower. If left unmanaged, their prescription may increase and result in high myopia. This can lead to more serious sight conditions later in life, such as glaucoma or retinal detachment.

Regular eye exams for myopia

eye exams for myopia

Regular comprehensive eye exams are vital, particularly for kids, as they enable the early detection and management of myopia. Children under 16 are usually seen annually or every 2 years if our optometrists think their vision is stable enough.

If you think your child may be short-sighted or know they are due for an eye exam, contact us today to get them booked for peace of mind.