What is Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is caused by an increase in eye length or corneal curvature. This condition causes light from distant objects to focus in front of the retina. Light focused in front of the retina results in blurry vision while looking at far away objects but clear vision while looking at close objects.
Myopia is increasing quickly in at-risk populations from 6 years of age. Previous studies have linked this change with the beginning of primary school education, and a link between the intensity of the education system and myopia onset has been determined.
Globally, research suggests that in year 2000, roughly 25% of the world’s population was nearsighted. By 2050, WHO estimated that roughly 50% of the world’s population will be myopic.
One reason for the increase in prevalence of high myopia is that the onset of myopia is occurring earlier in life. An early onset age (6-7 years of age) is associated with high myopia as an adult, resulting in a greater likelihood to develop other vision-threatening conditions. Along with allergies and asthma, eye disorders are the most common long-term health problems experienced by children.
Who is at risk?
Genetic factors play a role in development of myopia. The likelihood of developing myopia, particularly high myopia, increases when one or both parents are myopic.
Modern lifestyle habits such as low levels of outdoor activity, low levels of light exposure, prolonged near work. e.g. study time, reading, gaming and screen-viewing activities, also contribute to a mal-adaptation of the visual system. Thus leading to irreversible physical changes, such as eyeball elongation.
Myopia is irreversible, but there are ways to slow it down. The most effective methods have been the use of atropine eye drops, orthokeratology contact lenses and soft bifocal contact lenses.
If your child is at risk, act to prevent or delay progression. Managing myopia in its early stages can slow its progression, reducing the potential risk of developing high myopia and its associated conditions later in life.