Myopia is a disease that currently impacts 30% of the world’s population and by 2050, almost 50% of the population will be myopic, that’s an unnerving 5 billion people. There is some debate about whether myopia is a disease or a refractive error. The answer is uncovered by how myopia is defined and measured.
It’s likely that you know someone with myopia - a family member, friend, or work colleague. But how much do you really know about this progressive eye disease? Some parents expect that simply receiving a pair of glasses for their child is the only way of dealing with the effects of myopia.
Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye disease in which the eye elongates, causing light to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina’s surface. Essentially, your child’s eye is growing too long.
Before discussing potential “cures” and ways to control for myopia it is important to ensure we define it correctly. A myopic eye is one that grows too long front to back. We know this because we measure it using special equipment that calculates the length of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina).
Dozens of parents bring their children into our practices every day for eye exams and other services, and many ask us questions about myopia. While instances and awareness of myopia are on the rise, to help spread myopia awareness we've written out the basics on childhood myopia, why it matters, and what you as a parent can do to help preserve your child’s eye health in the long run.
As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. By learning these 5 important facts, you may feel encouraged to do more for your child's eye health and long-term vision—such as ensuring that they get their eyes checked on a regular basis and turning to myopia management to prevent the rapid progression of this disease.