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Why Is My Child’s Myopia Worsening?

October 15, 2022

Myopia is a condition that affects how clearly we see nearby things, but what causes it and why does a child’s vision seem to get worse over time?

Read on as a Broomfield, CO optometrist talks about myopia in children and why it tends to get worse over time.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition that occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back. 

As a child grows, the eyeball naturally lengthens. This is called “axial growth.” In myopia, the eyeball becomes too long from front to back. This causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. As a result, distant objects appear blurry. This is also known as a “positive” or “excessive” refractive error.

The term “refractive” refers to how light travels through an object and bends as it enters one side and exits from the other. So in myopia, light bends as it travels through your eye and focuses in front of your retina, causing blurry vision. 

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia is often diagnosed when children reach school age. It’s usually first detected during a vision screening at school.

Myopia can be caused by many different factors. It’s often inherited, but it can also be caused by a genetic disorder called Marfan syndrome. 

In some cases, myopia may be caused by an injury or illness that affects the eye, such as an eye infection or diabetes. 

What Causes Myopia to Get Worse?

Several things that can contribute to worsening myopia in children:

  • Genetics – Some people are genetically more prone to developing myopia than others. Your genes determine how quickly or slowly your eye grows when it is developing, which plays a huge role in how much your prescription increases over time.
  • Diet – A poor diet can cause your eyes to develop slower, which means your prescription increases less over time than someone who has a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. 
  • Others – Other factors, like the type of glasses you wear and how much time you spend looking at screens (e.g., TV and smartphones), can also affect how quickly or slowly your eye develops and therefore have an impact on how much your prescription increases over time.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available that can help you get your child’s eyes back into focus. Some of those treatments are:

  • Glasses (or contact lenses)
  • Orthokeratology
  • LASIK 

If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam for your child, please feel free to call our Broomfield, CO optometry office anytime!

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