Does your child churn through books but have trouble seeing the chalkboard at school? He or she may suffer from nearsightedness, or myopia.
Myopia is a refractive error, which means the eye does not bend light properly. Light does not focus correctly so the result is that distant images are not clear. It’s estimated that about 1 in 4 Americans are affected by this disorder. Some of the signs and symptoms of myopia include:
- squinting to see properly
- difficulty seeing objects far away, such as road signs or a blackboard at school
Unlike many vision issues, myopia is inherited. It’s usually diagnosed in school-aged children, between age 8 and 12. Some teens notice a decline when puberty hits, but there’s usually little change in vision after age 20. However, myopia can occur in adults. If patients have mild nearsightedness, it’s referred to as “low myopia.” Severe cases are referred to as high myopia and many people find the issue can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Still, it’s a condition that should be monitored. People with myopia have a higher risk of developing a detached retina, as well as glaucoma and cataracts. If you’re concerned about your risk factors, it’s best to consult with your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor. He or she can monitor changes in the retina that might lead to retinal detachment. A surgery can usually repair the retina if it’s diagnosed early on.
Speaking of timing, the most important thing you can do is take a proactive role in your child’s health. That means ensuring vision issues like myopia, or nearsightedness, are diagnosed and managed early on. A school vision screening or a brief examination by a pediatrician is insufficient, as vision problems in children can go undetected.
An experienced optometrist can work with your medical team to accurately diagnose and treat a number of health conditions. With a preventive approach to care, you can enjoy excellent eye health and vision at any age. Don’t forget to check out our back to school specials.