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Myopia in Children vs. Adults

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EyeQue Team

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August 8, 2018


Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, occurs when people are able to see nearby objects clearly, but vision becomes blurred as objects move farther away. Currently, it’s estimated that myopia impacts nearly 3 out of 10 Americans and occurs when the actual eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved.

Myopia in children has skyrocketed in recent years. Since it is often diagnosed in school-aged children, it is often misidentified as a childhood issue. However, recent research indicates that this condition in adults is on the rise with nearly 10 million American adults considered to be severely myopic.

Myopia in Children

While the exact cause is unknown, research clearly demonstrates that many children inherit myopia from their parents. Generally, it develops in school-age children and continues to progress until age 20 once the eyeball stops growing. Research conducted by the National Institute of Health and clinicians from the USC Eye Institute found that childhood myopia has doubled over the last 50 years. Symptoms include:

  • Squinting while looking at objects
  • Having a low attention span
  • Sitting close to television or computer screen
  • Complaining of headaches

Myopia in Adults

Research continues to support the finding indicating that individuals spending large amounts of time working on computers or doing other work or activities requiring intense visual focus or up-close work are more likely to develop myopia.

It may also develop in adults as a result of other, significant health issues such as diabetes.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of myopia in adults include:

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Squinting and/or partially closing the eyelids to see more clearly
  • Headaches caused by eyestrain
  • Apparent unawareness of distant objects
  • Excessive blinking
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle (especially at night)

Addressing and Treating Myopia

To better address, the condition in adults, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends eye exams on a regular basis. Specifically, adults at risk for glaucoma are encouraged to get a dilated eye exam annually or every two years after the age of 40.

Other recommendations for at-risk adults include exams at the following frequency:

Ages 18 to 60: Every 1 to 2 years or as recommended
Over age 61: Annually or as recommended

Treating Adult Onset Myopia

The goal of optometrists treating nearsightedness in adults is to use refocus light on the retina to improve vision. There are a number of options for nearsightedness to consider, including:

  • Prescription Eyeglasses/ Contacts
    • Peripheral defocus modifying contact lenses
  • Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK)
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK)
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)

In addition to treating adult nearsightedness with corrective lenses and/or refractive surgery, other options include:

  • Low dose atropine (0.01%)/ Multivitamins
  • Increased time outside
  • Vision therapy
  • At home vision testing with EyeQue’s at-home vision solutions: the EyeQue VisionCheck and the EyeQue Insight- vision screener (includes 20/20, colorblindness, and contrast sensitivity tests).

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