Myopia is a refractive error of the eye characterized by formation of the image seen by the eye in front of the retina. People with myopia have well near vision but poor distance vision. It is, in most cases, an acquired condition that occurs as the child grows up. Most children are hypermetropic, so, in order to get a clear picture on the retina, they tend to draw, read, watch TV at rather small distances, thus fixing their eyes for a longer time on nearby objects and forcing accommodation. Myopia develops as a result of overuse and decompensation of accommodative mechanisms.
Due to the elongated shape of the eyeball, the image is no longer projected onto the retina, but in front of it, the objects become blurred and the child complains that he does not distinguish things in the distance.
In an attempt to see better, the effort to accommodate the eye is permanent. Therefore, eyestrain, headache and a feeling of visual fatigue may occur. People with myopia have well near vision but poor distance vision.
How can myopia be suspected?
Myopia is a widespread condition among schoolchildren.
The following symptoms can suggest myopia:
– Frequent headaches
– The child complains that he does not clearly see in the distance (for example on the blackboard or does not see the bus number clearly, etc.)
– The child dims his eyes to make the image clearer
How is myopia diagnosed?
An eye care professional can diagnose myopia during a comprehensive eye exam.
After consultation, the doctor will prescribe the glasses needed to correct myopia and will recommend a correct treatment strategy.
Myopia is a refractive error that tends to grow, along with the growth of the child and, respectively, its eye. That is why an individualized plan of medical visits is required for repeated assessments of visual acuity and changes in the eye fundus (retina) due to disease progression.
A delicate and personalized approach, a careful choice of glasses, and repetitive consultation at six months can keep your child’s health condition under control.
The evolution of myopia in children and teenagers is considered to be favourable if the reduction in vision acuity does not exceed 0.5 diopters per year. In this case, it is treated by conservative methods: wearing of glasses or contact lenses, giving rest to the eyes, exercises for enhancing vision, enough sleep, balanced nutrition and adherence to the rules of visual hygiene.
At the Optisan Clinic, after a complete diagnosis, a suitable correction method is chosen for the child and the treatment is done using a variety of therapeutic techniques. Additionally, there is a program of individual home sessions, parents are explained how to test vision acuity at home. The doctor monitors the performances and, if necessary, changes the program.
The treatment schedule is drawn up individually for each child, taking into account its age, health condition and general psycho-emotional status.
Treatment of myopia
– Eyeglasses for distance vision are absolutely necessary to compensate this refractive error of the eye.
– Contact lenses are an alternative method of optical correction.
– Refractive surgery is an option once the optic error of the eye has stabilized, usually after the age of 18s. The most common types of refractive surgery are laser-assisted interventions.
How to establish myopia in a child?
It is well known that many diseases respond better to treatment if detected in the early stages; this statement also applies to myopia. A child can not complain that he sees badly, because he just does not know the difference between “seeing badly” and “seeing well”. Therefore, if you notice in your child signs of fast fatigue during reading, bending over a book or notebook, periodically complaining of headaches, often blinking and rubbing his eyes, attend an ophthalmologist immediately!
Keep in mind that only a specialist can diagnose the disease in a proper time and may designate an appropriate treatment!
Preventing inappropriate visual skills
First of all, parents should deal with the prevention of wrong visual skills in their children.
Teach them to stay correctly at a desk. Make sure the light falls evenly on the book or notebook during working, while the head and face remain in the shade. The best is the use of an office lamp in addition to general lighting; this is especially important during the night. It is necessary to avoid bending the child’s head close to the work object; the optimal distance for visual activity is 30-35 cm.
During work, it is recommended to eliminate reflective surfaces from the child’s field of vision. The bad habit to read abed can be a triggering factor of myopia. It is necessary to take a break after every 30-35 minutes of visual work (for younger pupils 20-25 minutes), during which the child can eat, perform eye exercises, other types of exercises or simply rest.
What is congenital myopia?
Congenital myopia is caused by a disturbance of the intrauterine development of the eyeball. It is often due to premature delivery, hypoxia, and various diseases of the mother during the first three months of pregnancy.
Normally children are born hypermetrops. The eyeball in the child is shortened and the light rays, which pass through the refractive media of the eye, do not focus on the retina but behind it. In young children, a slight degree of hypermetropia is considered to be a natural age-specific feature, which over time (six to seven years) resolves due to the increase of the child’s eyeball and the shift of the optic focus on the retina. In case of congenital myopia, the child is born with an elongated eyeball, which means that the light rays do not reach the retina. This is rather dangerous because it interferes with the proper development of the visual analyzer and, subsequently, with the general development of the child.
The risk group includes children whose parents (one or both) have myopia. Congenital and hereditary myopia are different things. Hereditary myopia is a predisposition of the visual system to the appearance of this disease; it usually develops later in childhood, under the influence of negative factors. In opposite, congenital myopia is produced in the stage of intrauterine development of the foetus and is more dangerous for the formation of visual functions.
Congenital myopia may be associated with premature delivery, genetics, or may be caused by some pathological processes. Noteworthy, in most cases, congenital myopia is characterized by minor changes in the eye fundus.
Typically, congenital myopia is stable, although in some cases it can progress. Of course, children with congenital myopia require close supervision from the ophthalmologist. In order to prevent the possible development of amblyopia it is necessary to start the optical correction as soon as possible.
Why is early diagnosis important?
The primary objective is early recognition of congenital myopia. If this condition is not detected in a proper time and no immediate measures are taken, more serious problems may arise. Late detection of congenital myopia and lack of optimal optical correction (glasses, contact lenses) can lead to occurrence of refractive amblyopia and convergent strabismus (cross–eye) even in the first year of life. Solving the latter requires much more time and effort.
In order to detect congenital myopia, the first examination of the newborn is carried out at the maternity centre by the ophthalmologist, but this examination is not enough.
It is important to carry out a comprehensive diagnosis of the child’s visual system using modern equipment.
Optisan Ophthalmology Specialists consult children as young as five-six months!
The rationale of early detection of congenital myopia is to designate an appropriate correction for the harmonious development of the child. Modern glasses and contact lenses allow making this at an early age.
Evolution of congenital myopia
The next step is systematic observation of the child’s vision. The regularity of examinations is determined by the ophthalmologist. Depending on the results of the examinations, prognosis and subsequent preventive treatment are established.
As a rule, congenital myopia is of a high degree. Formerly, congenital myopia was thought to not progress or progress very rarely, but stereotypes have changed at the end of the last century. Unfortunately, ophthalmologists are increasingly experiencing progressive congenital myopia.