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Can My Child’s Nearsightedness Get Worse? 

February 10, 2022

Finding out that your child is nearsighted may not be something you expected or planned for, but this can be easily remedied with glasses or contact lenses. That’s the good news. The bad news is nearsightedness, also known as myopia, can get worse as your child ages.

Fortunately, there are ways to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children. Read on as a Hackensack, NJ optometrist talks about what causes nearsightedness to get worse and how a prescribed myopia management program can help your child maintain good vision.

What Causes Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, a condition that causes faraway objects to appear blurry, typically develops in childhood. Two conditions can cause your child to be nearsighted:

  • The eyeball is longer than normal
  • The eye’s cornea is too curved

Both of these situations cause the images you see to focus in front of the retina, which sits at the back of the eye. Normally, images should focus directly on the retina. Corrective eyewear, such as glasses and contact lenses, refocus incoming images directly in front of the retina.

When left untreated, myopia can get worse, which creates conditions for other, more serious eye problems to develop in adulthood.

Why Does Nearsightedness Get Worse?

Children develop and grow rapidly during childhood. In some instances, eyeball length will continue to increase during both childhood and the teenage years. This will cause a child’s nearsightedness to get worse. Other factors that can contribute to myopia progression include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Wearing glasses all day long, especially for children with low myopia
  • Spending large amounts of time engaged in near-vision or close-up tasks, such as reading and writing
  • Prolonged use of digital devices

Also, wearing glasses that fully correct nearsightedness can allow the condition to get worse over time. For this reason, some eye doctors will prescribe an under-corrected lens strength to help slow the growth of the eye. This is actually one of the tools eye doctors can use in myopia management.

Myopia Management for Children

Myopia management, also called myopia control, involves the use of specific treatments to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children. An eye doctor exams your child’s eyes then puts together a myopia management program that’s specific to your child’s or teenager’s condition. Treatments commonly used include:

  • Atropine eye drops
  • Ortho-K contact lenses
  • Myopia control glasses
  • Multifocal contact lenses

If you have more questions about myopia management or wish to schedule a consultation, please feel free to call our Hackensack, NJ optometry office today!

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