Experts with many different organizations predict the rate of nearsightedness will double in children by 2050. Across the globe, there are almost 1 million new cases diagnosed every week. Almost 90 percent of children in South Asia are nearsighted while the rate in America and Europe is approaching 50 percent. While a child with one parent who is nearsighted is about 33 percent, the rate nearly doubles if both parents are nearsighted.
Why is the Rate of Nearsightedness Increasing?
While experts admit that they are not sure why the rate is going up, they point to several different factors. The rate started climbing before every teen was active on a smartphone, but it has recently skyrocketed. Children who spend the majority of their day indoors are more apt to develop nearsightedness.
Is Nearsightedness a Minor Inconvenience?
While many people see nearsightedness as a minor inconvenience in life, it can have long-term health effects. People who are diagnosed with nearsightedness are more likely to develop cataracts as they get older. They are also more likely to develop glaucoma and their retina is more likely to become detached. There are other rarer eye conditions that are more frequent in people who are nearsighted.
Does Your Child Need an Eye Exam?
Your child should have their eyes examined on a regular basis. It is relatively easy to determine if a child may be a candidate for nearsightedness because the doctor can shine an instrument into the eye and take measurements. Then, the measurements are compared with averages. Those children who test outside of the normal range have a higher risk of developing nearsightedness.
What Can be Done to Treat Nearsightedness?
While there is no known cure for nearsightedness, your child may benefit from special eye drops. Basically, the active ingredients used in the drops many doctors use to dilate your eyes during an appointment can be used in some cases to slow down the progression of nearsightedness. Called atropine drops, eye doctors may recommend these drops to reduce eye stress, slow changes to the eye structure and help the eye to focus better. The long-term effects of these drops have not been well studied, and there are indications that children using them may be more light sensitive.
Are Contact Lenses Prescribed for Nearsightedness in Children?
A special type of contact lenses can be prescribed for children who have been diagnosed with nearsightedness. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that wearing gas permeable contact lenses at night may slow down the progression of nearsightedness, so children may not need to wear glasses or contacts as an adult. Another type of contact lenses, called multifocal contact lenses, may help children see better allowing them to focus better.
Make an appointment with Eyes of Winter Park to learn about these advancements to help nearsightedness in children. Contact lenses in Orlando may help those diagnosed with this problem see better now and in the future. The first step in getting contact lenses in Orlando is to call.