Myopia (near-sightedness) among children is a condition related to difficulty in distinguishing objects located at a far distance.
Causes of myopia
There may be different causes of myopia in children: genetic factor, weakening of the sclera, primary accommodation disorder, continuous work at short distances (on a computer, watching TV), environmental conditions, visual hygiene disorders, weakening of the organism through wrong nutrition, overexertion, and various congenital pathologies. Myopia in children is most commonly caused by a change in the eyeball shape when the anteroposterior axis of the eye turns out to be too extended. The elongated shape of the eyeball results in incorrect light refraction and visual acuity is reduced, above all in the distance.
Types and degrees of myopia in children
Ophthalmologists classify myopia into low (up to 3.0 D inclusive), medium (3.25 to 6.0 D), and high (over 6 D). High myopia may reach quite considerable values: 15, 20, 30 D, and more.
- Congenital myopia
Congenital myopia in children may be associated with prematurity, heredity, or pathological processes. Congenital myopia is usually stable, although in some cases it may progress. Naturally, children with congenital myopia require close medical attention and constant dynamic monitoring. It is imperative to prescribe optical correction as early as possible and to carry out amblyopia prophylaxis.
- Myopia can be true, i.e., caused by the specific eye structure, and pseudomyopia, when vision is impaired due to accommodation disorders, while there are no anatomical alterations as eyeball enlargement.
- Pseudomyopia (accommodation spasm). Pseudomyopia in children (usually of school age) is a disorder of the eye (ciliary) muscles and may result in losing the ability to clearly distinguish both close and distant objects. According to some reports, one in six schoolchildren suffers from this disorder. The symptoms of pseudomyopia are similar to true myopia, but the nature of these conditions is different and so is the treatment approach. In case of accommodation spasm, which can be detected only during the eye exam, a doctor may choose a set of machine-assisted procedures, but often spectacle correction in pseudomyopia is not required and can even be harmful.
- School myopia
There is a particular type of myopia in children that develops in children and adolescents during their school years as school myopia. It differs in the way it develops through visual system fatigue resulting in accommodation spasms, which in turn leads to the development of true myopia. It is crucial to take the process under control in time.
- Progressive myopia. If myopia in a child increases by more than one diopter per year, it is progressive myopia, which requires special attention and surgical treatment. Pediatric myopia gets progressed mostly during the school years when visual strain is particularly high.
Myopia diagnostics in children
Eximer KIDS Ophthalmology Clinic performs a thorough diagnostics of the child’s visual system with special equipment with a pupil dilation procedure. This is the only way to accurately identify the cause, type, and degree of myopia in your child. Based on the findings, the child is offered contact correction and therapy using various machine-assisted methods, if necessary. In addition, a program of individual lessons at home is arranged and the parents are explained how to test their child’s eyesight at home. The doctor monitors the changes and corrects the program as needed.
Myopia treatment in children
A favorable course for myopia in children and adolescents is vision loss of fewer than 0.5 diopters per year. Then it is treated with conservative (machine-assisted) methods. It is imperative to wear glasses or contact lenses prescribed by a doctor, give eyes more rest, do visual exercises, get enough sleep and eat properly, and observe good visual hygiene. Numerous remedies and methods are used to treat myopia. First of all, myopia treatment in children is aimed at stopping or slowing down its further progression and preventing its complications, and not at elimination or decrease in the myopia degree.
Selecting glasses or contact lenses
Myopic children need glasses for long-distance vision and many children need glasses for close vision (when myopia exceeds 5-6 diopters). At Eximer KIDS Ophthalmology Clinic, either spectacle or lens therapy is chosen based on a thorough eye exam. You must be reassessed every six months and if necessary, your optics must be changed.
Machine-assisted myopia treatment in children
The Eximer KIDS operates a whole complex of modern equipment for myopia treatment. We use such therapeutic procedures as laser, ultrasound, infrared laser therapy, laser stimulation, vacuum massage, magnetotherapy, electrical stimulation, and the amblyokor (Reamed) device. Their efficiency is recognized on Ukrainian and international levels.
Myopia surgery in children is performed only if it progresses more than 1 D per year and excludes the possibility of developing a normal vision, or if complications arise such as dystrophic retinal foci. In these cases, scleroplasty is performed. It is aimed at strengthening the posterior segment of the sclera and intensifying the metabolism in the eyeball membranes.
Prevention of myopia in children
If myopia is an anatomical feature, it is impossible to prevent it, but it is quite possible to avoid progression or significant deterioration of visual characteristics. Here are some recommendations.
- Schedule regular check-ups for your child once a year.
- Arrange for proper lighting and a workplace for your child.
- Make sure that your child follows a regimen of visual activity (your doctor will recommend it). It is worth taking a break every 30-35 minutes at the desk (for younger schoolchildren — 20-25 minutes).
- Gymnastics for the eyes is good for relieving tension.
- Move around more, go for a walk in the fresh air.
- Watch your meals. Your diet should include proteins, vitamins, and micronutrients such as Zn, Mn, Cu, Cr, and others.
Teach your child to sit properly at the desk. Make sure the light falls evenly on the paper or workbook while working, but keep your head and face in the shade. It is best to study with a desk lamp, keeping the general light on.