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Does Myopia Worsen With Age?

April 26, 2021

Experts estimate that half of the world's population will be myopic by the year 2050. Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a type of refractive error in which a person's near vision is clear, but distance vision is blurred. A recent study reveals that 69 percent of parents in New Zealand don't know what myopia is. Also, only 12 percent of parents are aware of the health risks their myopic children might face later in life because of the condition. 


Sadly, myopia usually worsens as a child grows older. It can start at any age but, in most cases, it begins at school age. It progresses throughout these growing years and usually stabilizes around late adolescence or in a person’s early 20s.


What Other Factors Cause Myopia to Worsen?


Apart from age, several other factors contribute to the progression of myopia. These include:


Constant Wearing of Eyeglasses


Children diagnosed with low myopia are advised against wearing corrective glasses for near work activities. They should only use their prescription eyewear for distance vision. Does your child suffer from moderate to high myopia? If so, they can wear their glasses for both near and distance vision. 


Use of Overcorrected Eyeglasses


If your child's myopia can be corrected with a -3.0 diopter lens, undercorrected lens power, such as -2.75 or -2.50 diopter, is recommended. Using the exact -3.0 diopter lens or higher may increase the refractive error in the long run.


Your Kid Spends Too Little Time Outdoors


This concept is not new. In some countries where people spend most of their time indoors, myopia rates have been rising. One study also suggests that for every extra hour spent outdoors each week, a child's risk of developing myopia decreases by 14 percent. Researchers are not sure why this makes a difference. But they believe it has something to do with outdoor lighting being much brighter than indoor lighting. Inadequate exposure to violet light is also thought to be a contributing factor in the progression of myopia. Experts also believe that a person's eyes tend to have more chances to focus on things in the distance when they are outside. 


Your Kid Spends Too Much Time Doing Near Work


One way to aggravate myopia is to spend too much time focusing on objects at close range. Activities such as reading, watching shows on video screens, and playing on a smartphone can worsen the condition. Due to the high visual demands of these near work activities, they have long been regarded as potential factors in myopia progression. 


Hereditary Factors


Besides behavioral and environmental factors, scientists have concluded that heritable and genetic factors also play a role in refractive errors like myopia. Offspring of myopic parents appear to have longer eyes, which makes them more likely to develop the same condition during their childhood or teenage years.


Are you looking for ways to treat your child's myopia and prevent it from getting worse? At NVISION Eyecare, we can assess your child's eye and vision health and find the best methods to control his or her myopia.


Learn more about managing your child’s myopia, contact NVISION Eyecare in Auckland, New Zealand to schedule a comprehensive eye examination.