This is the only refractive vision condition that does increase significantly in incidence throughout the school years. It affects only 3% of five to nine year olds; increases to 8% of those aged 10 to 12 and then more than 17% of teenagers.
Short-sighted children can see clearly up close but not in the distance. Prescription lenses can provide good vision but periodic lens changes are often needed because this problem is usually progressive in the childhood years. Myopia will then tend to stabilise at about age 25. The cause of short-sightedness is not known for certain but the factors involved do include hereditary, time spent outdoors and visual stress.
Myopia progression can sometimes be slowed or halted with the use of specialty lens types such as bifocals or progressive lenses or the use of specialty contact lenses (orthokeratology or multifocal contact lenses). Once again, early intervention is critical so please discuss with your optometrist.
There is the need to control myopia as generally once a child becomes myopic, it tends to worsen over time. Higher levels of myopia are associated with higher risks of eye diseases like glaucoma, retinal detachment and cataract later in life.Parents should be alert for early warning signs of short-sightedness. These include squinting when looking at distant objects like road signs and movie screens, less clear vision at night or constantly sitting close to the TV set.