Early detection of nearsightedness can put you in a better position to control myopia. Myopia typically develops during the early school years, often progressing most quickly during the pre-teen years. This is why most myopia control studies involve relatively younger children.
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface. Nearsightedness also can be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia is due to a combination of these factors. Myopia typically begins in childhood and those whose parents are nearsighted have a higher risk of inheriting the condition. In most cases, nearsightedness stabilizes in early adulthood, although sometimes it continues to progress with age.
While there are currently no interventions that can cure myopia altogether, research shows that that there are methods to slow or prevent its progression, especially among children. Myopic changes are generally permanent; treatment is therefore designed to stop its progression by finding myopia early and taking steps to prevent it from getting worse.
It’s important that you schedule routine eye exams for your children, starting as early as before they enter preschool, even if they have not complained of any vision problems. An early childhood eye exam is doubly important if you or your spouse has myopia or other vision problems, or if a child’s older siblings are nearsighted.
As stated earlier, myopia forms because the eye grows too long, and there simply is no anatomical method to shrink the eyeball. Research on the subject has revolved mainly around determining which mechanisms can best control eye growth, and finding the most viable methods to interrupt that growth.
Let’s now move on to the three most promising ways of effectively controlling myopia. Read more on this in Part III.