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Does Nearsightedness Get Worse Over Time in Children? 

June 15, 2022

When a child tends to sit too close to the TV or has problems seeing the chalkboard in school, nearsightedness is likely the cause. Fortunately, prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can solve this problem quite easily. However, the underlying cause of nearsightedness remains untreated. For many children, nearsightedness will continue to worsen even with prescription eyewear.

The good news is nearsightedness can be managed so that it progresses at a slower rate. Read on as a Broomfield, CO optometrist discusses nearsightedness, how it progresses, and how managing this condition can help protect your child’s vision, both now and in the future. 

What Causes Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a refractive error that causes faraway objects to appear blurry. Refractive errors have to do with how the cornea directs incoming light and images onto the retina. 

The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped part of the eye that covers your iris and pupil. Light enters through the cornea, is directed onto the lens, and then the retina. 

With 20/20 vision, the cornea directs or “refracts” light directly through the lens and onto the retina. If the cornea is misshapen or the eyeball itself is too long, incoming light and images land in front of the retina. This causes faraway objects and scenes to appear blurry. In effect, nearsightedness results from abnormalities in the structures of the eye. 

What Causes Nearsightedness to Get Worse?

Your child’s eyes will continue to grow through childhood and on into the teenage years. In turn, the structural abnormalities that cause nearsightedness will continue to grow and change as well. This means there’s a very real risk that your child’s myopia will get worse. 

Other factors can also make nearsightedness get worse, a few of which include:

  • Wearing corrective eyewear all the time
  • Wearing corrective eyewear that fully corrects myopia
  • Spending a lot of time looking at digital devices
  • Performing close-up tasks, such as writing and reading, for long periods

Myopia Management – Prevent Nearsightedness From Getting Worse

When left untreated, the long-term effects of nearsightedness can develop into serious eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment in adulthood. The likelihood that your child’s nearsightedness will get worse coupled with the potential for long-term complications are good reasons to consider myopia management treatments for your child.

Myopia management encompasses a range of specialized treatments that slow the rate at which nearsightedness worsens. An optometrist puts together a personalized treatment plan after conducting a comprehensive eye examination. 

Here are a few of the most commonly used treatments used in myopia management:

  • Atropine therapy
  • Myopia control glasses
  • Ortho-K contact lenses
  • Multifocal contact lenses

If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please feel free to call our Broomfield, CO optometry office today.