Myopia 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. Its primary symptom is nearsightedness.
More than 40 percent of Americans have myopia and that number is increasing at an alarming rate, especially among school-age children.
One in four parents have a child with myopia and about three-quarters of children with myopia were diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12.
Two-thirds of Eye Care Practitioners (ECPs) say the presence of myopia among children in their practice has increased over the past 5-10 years, and 81% of ECPs recognize it as one of the biggest problems impacting children’s eyesight today.
Each level of myopia is defined by a specific diopter (D) range.
A diopter is the unit used to measure the correction, or focusing power, of the lens the eye requires to see clearly.
-0.50 to -2.75 D
-3.00 to -4.75 D
-5.00 or higher
Family history plays a role in a child’s risk of myopia. If neither parent has myopia, the chance the child will develop myopia is relatively low. But if one parent has myopia, it increases the child’s chance of developing myopia by 3x – doubling to 6x if both parents have myopia.
Exposure to sunlight, vitamin D levels, dopamine levels and the amount of time a child spends outdoors may have an impact on the likelihood of myopia development. Research shows spending more time outdoors lowers the risk of developing childhood myopia.
Leaving myopia untreated may contribute to more severe eye health complications later in life, including: