There are several types of refractive error, and though we have layman’s terms for all of them they can still be very confusing to undersand.
What is myopia (nearsightedness)?
Generally, when an individual see something clearly up close, but things are blurry in the distance, doctors refer to this condition as myopia. The term that is often used with patients is nearsighted, implying that the patient can see clearly at near. In general, doctors refer to problems that require a pair of glasses to fix as refractive error.
Several factors influence myopia:
Evidence suggests that the younger a patient is diagnosed with myopia, the greater the refractive error will be later in life if left untreated.1
Children at the highest risk of developing myopia are those with two myopic patients.2 Risk diminishes with one myopic parent, and is lowest with no myopic parents.
Studies show that Asian children are at much higher risk than Caucasian children. In fact, it has been shown that Asian children also progress up to 50% faster than Caucasian children.
Are there any long term risks to myopia?
Yes. Unfortunately, children that develop myopia are at higher risk for other vision threatening diseases.
What can we do about myopia?
Fortunately, there are many studies that demonstrate that not only can myopia be slowed but it can also potentially be halted. Instead of going to the eye doctor every year expecting for your prescription to increase, you may find that it stays the same and never gets any worse. Therapies such as special contact lenses can not only correct for vision but can also treat myopia. Ask your eye care provider today about your options!
- Zadnik K, Sinnott LT, Cotter SA, et al. Prediction of juvenile-onset myopia. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(6):683-689.
- Jones-Jordan LA, Sinnott LT, Manny RE, et al. Early childhood refractive error and parental history of myopia as predictors of myopia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51(1):115-121.
- COMET Group. Myopia stabilization and associated factors among participants in the Correcetoin of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013;54(13):7871-7884. Published 2013 Dec 3.