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Myopia – often referred to as nearsightedness – is a common eye health condition in which the eyeball elongates, causing light rays to focus incorrectly in the eye, thus making distance vision blurry.

The Increasing Prevalence and Severity of Pediatric Myopia

More than 40 percent of Americans are myopic and that number is increasing at an alarming rate, especially among school-aged children. One in four parents has a child with myopia and about three-quarters of children with myopia were diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 122. Two-thirds of eye care professionals (ECPs) say the presence of myopia among children in their practice has increased over the past 5-10 years3, and 81% of ECPs recognize it as one of the biggest problems impacting children’s eyesight today.

Causes of Myopia

Myopia typically occurs during childhood when the eyeball develops a larger or longer shape, meaning the distance between the front of the eye and the retina at the back of the eye is longer than normal. Blurry vision due to myopia is the result of light rays focusing at a point in front of the retina rather than directly on the surface. However, the upward incidence of myopia can be attributed to different factors, and is occasionally the result of a combination of these factors:

  • Genetics – Family history plays a part in a child’s risk of myopia. If neither parent is myopic, the chance the child will develop myopia is low. However, if one parent is myopic, it increases the child's chance of developing myopia by3x – doubling to 6x if both parents are myopic.

  • Environment – Exposure to sunlight, vitamin D intake, dopamine levels, and the amount of time someone spends outdoors have an impact on an individual's likelihood of being myopic. Research shows spending more time outdoors lowers the risk of childhood myopia.

Long-term Ocular Health Impacts

As the eye continues to grow and the amount of myopia increases, ocular tissues change in response to the eye growth, resulting in eye health risks that are not as evident in a non-myopic eye. The more nearsighted a child is, the greater these risks become and these risks increase exponentially as myopia progresses. Leaving myopia untreated may contribute to more severe eye health complications later in life, including cataracts, retinal detachment, glaucoma, and possibly macular degeneration.

How We Treat Myopia

The earlier myopia management starts, the better the outcomes regarding the child’s near- and long-term eye health. In the U.S., 71% of ECPs say it is absolutely essential to slow the progression of myopia among children ages 8 – 15 years old.

Managing myopia progression by even 1 diopter:

  • Reduces risk of myopic maculopathy by 40%

  • Reduces risk of open-angle glaucoma by 20%

  • Reduces risk of visual impairment by 20%

  • Saves between 0.5 and 0.9 years of visual impairment

Managing myopia starts with regular comprehensive eye exams so our team can determine progression and treatment. We are proud to offer a number of different treatment courses including CooperVision’s MiSight™ 1 day13 is the first and only contact lens approved by the FDA* to slow the progression of myopia in children (8-12 years of age at the initiation of treatment). The FDA-approved lens is available as part of a comprehensive myopia management approach offered by CooperVision and participating eye care practitioners.

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