Myopia often manifests in adolescence, with symptoms like squinting at the board and struggling to see distant objects. If your child is showing signs of nearsightedness, it’s important to have them formally diagnosed and treated while they’re young. From there, you and your optometrist can discuss how to manage their condition.
At Harlem VistaSite Eye Care in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Brittni Rodriguez, OD, and Sarah Quan, OD, can help monitor your child’s vision and identify myopia early, so they can be fitted for their first pair of eyeglasses.
An overview of myopia
Nearsightedness, known formally as myopia, is caused by a refractive error. In its early stages, it causes poor distance vision. Words on a board, signs, and faraway objects appear fuzzy, while close-up text and images are clearer.
Myopia can be corrected with contact lenses or glasses, but that’s only half the necessary treatment. During adolescence, the eyes get larger and develop rapidly. Existing problems like myopia often worsen, leaving the eyes vulnerable to additional problems like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment as they age.
The good news is that there are ways to slow the progression of myopia, especially in children. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, vision loss can be effectively mitigated. If nearsightedness has already settled in, corrective lenses can be used to help correct this problem, but be aware that your child’s lens prescription may need to be adjusted annually or even twice a year to keep up with vision changes.
Recognizing signs of myopia
Refractive errors can cause your child to have blurred vision, which they may not recognize themselves at first. You might notice your child rubs their eyes constantly, complains that their eyes are tired, is constantly squinting (especially at the television) and starts to fall behind in school.
The best way to get a clear diagnosis is by getting your child a comprehensive vision screening and eye exam. The doctor can also identify additional issues such as astigmatism or strabismus (lazy eye) during such an exam.
Wearing sunglasses and limiting screen time can help preserve your child’s vision. If your child is already experiencing myopia, there are a few ways to slow it down:
- Soft, multifocal contacts are comfortable enough for older kids and can slow down myopia progression up to 25%, compared to single-vision lenses.
- Orthokeratology is a nighttime contact lens that slowly reshapes the cornea while you sleep, similar to the way braces shift the alignment of teeth.
- Atropine drops, which are applied before bed, slow down the progression of myopia by restricting certain growth hormones.
The team at Harlem VistaSite Eye Care has experience dealing with myopia in patients of all ages, and they can help you decide what solutions are best for you or your child.
If you’re concerned about your child’s eyes, schedule a consultation with the specialists at Harlem VistaSite. You can get in touch by calling 646-453-6506 or booking an appointment online.