Why Myopia Progression Is A Concern

Child wearing glasses

Are you or your child’s eyes getting worse every year?

Some youngsters who develop myopia (nearsightedness) have continuous myopia progression throughout their school years, including high school.

While annual eye exam costs and new glasses every year can be a financial strain on some families, the long-term risks of myopia progression are more significant.

More Children Are Developing Myopia

Nearsightedness is one of the more common eye disorders worldwide. The prevalence of myopia is about thirty to forty percent among adults in Europe and America and up to eighty percent or higher in many East Asian countries. It’s estimated that by 2050, nearly half of the world’s population will be nearsighted.

Classification of Myopia Severity

Mild nearsightedness typically does not increase the risk for eye health problems. But moderate and high nearsightedness are associated with severe and vision-threatening effects.

When nearsightedness-related eye complications and vision loss occur, a high level of myopia is known as pathological myopia or degenerative myopia.

Adults with high nearsightedness usually had mild myopia when they were young, and their nearsightedness progressed every year.

Myopia-Related Eye Problems

Significant eye problems associated with nearsightedness may include:

Cataracts. In a recent study of cataracts among Koreans with high nearsightedness, researchers found cataracts developed sooner in highly nearsighted eyes than eyes without myopia.  Eyes with a high level of nearsightedness had a higher occurrence of coexisting eye disease and complications, like retinal detachment.

Glaucoma. Myopia has been associated with an increased risk of glaucoma. In an Australian study, glaucoma was found in 4.2 percent of eyes with mild nearsightedness and 4.4 percent of eyes with moderate-to-high nearsightedness, compared with 1.5 percent without myopia.

Retinal detachment. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists found nearsightedness was an apparent risk factor for retinal detachment.

Results showed eyes with mild nearsightedness had a four-fold increased retinal detachment risk compared with non-myopic eyes. Among eyes with moderate and high nearsightedness, the risk increased ten-fold. The study authors also concluded that almost fifty-five percent of retinal detachments not caused by trauma are attributable to nearsightedness.

What You Can Do About Myopia Progression

The best course of action to slow the progression of childhood myopia is to schedule annual eye exams. Your ophthalmologist can monitor how much and how fast the eyes are changing.

Often, children with nearsightedness don’t complain about their vision, so schedule annual exams regardless of whether they talk about vision changes.

Schedule Annual Eye Exams

If your child is nearsighted, schedule annual eye exams with board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Key today. During the exam, ask about myopia control measures to slow the progression of nearsightedness in your or your child’s eyes.

The first step for vision correction is to schedule a visit with a board-certified ophthalmologist to evaluate your vision. Take advantage of a complimentary screening examination at Will Vision and Laser Centers at one of our convenient Vancouver and Salem locations.